Alexandria police arrested a 20-year-old Alexandria man yesterday and charged him with first-degree murder in the early morning killing of the woman he lived with.

Police found Mattie Bell Cook, 40, of 191 Yale Dr., dead when they arrived at her friend's house at 113 Yale Dr. in the Cameron Valley section of the city, after responding to a call for emergency service shortly after 9 a.m.

"It appears to have been a severe beating," said Sgt. Ronald Graves, of the Criminal Investigation Division. William Barbour, 20, of 191 Yale Dr. was arrested and charged in the case.

Police said that they had not recovered any weapon.

Police are awaiting the preliminary results of an autopsy that was performed yesterday afternoon.

Police said that the couple was not married but had lived together in the city-run housing development for at least two years. Police said the pair had a history of loud arguments, but they had no record of past police calls involving the two.

Police said both Cook and Barbour were unemployed.

This is the second homicide committed in the last two years in Cameron Valley, according to police. In August 1984, a 16-year-old youth, Terrance Lamont Penick, was stabbed to death.

Barbour is being held at the Alexandria jail without bond, pending a preliminary hearing.