California man held in slaying of woman in northwest valley

A California man was arrested Friday after Las Vegas police said he sexually assaulted and strangled a woman in her northwest valley home.

Las Vegas resident Melodie Walker, 35, was forced to the ground and sexually assaulted by Derrick Valentine, 37, of Pasadena, Calif., according to his arrest report.

Valentine “wanted to perform oral sex on Walker and he knew she would not allow him to,” the report says he told police.

During the assault, Walker asked Valentine if she could get a drink of water, the report says. Valentine followed Walker to the kitchen, where she fled down a staircase toward the garage, activating the alarm system.

Valentine caught Walker as the alarm activated. He told police that “he knew when she ran he would have to kill her,” the report says.

The home security service was notified by the alarm. Unable to reach anyone by phone, the company sent an employee to check the house on Pearl Cotton Avenue, near Gilcrease Avenue and Fort Apache Road, about 8:30 p.m.

Upon arrival, the security employee spoke with a man later identified as Valentine, the arrest report says. Valentine told the employee that he was alone in the house and needed an ambulance but asked that she not call police.

But when the employee saw Walker’s body inside, the report says, she called police.

According to the arrest report, Valentine first told police that a “tall, white male” had hit him over the head and poured chemicals down his throat. He later said that the story was false and that he had killed Walker and tried to hide the evidence using cleaning supplies in her house. When he couldn’t scrub out the bloodstains, Valentine drank some of the cleaning products hoping he would die, he told police.

Las Vegas homicide Lt. Lew Roberts said Valentine was possibly the victim’s ex-boyfriend or an acquaintance. The Clark County coroner’s office listed Walker’s death as “asphyxia by strangulation.”

Valentine was booked at the Clark County Detention Center for one count of murder and two counts of felony sexual assault.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at or 702-383-0283.