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North Memphis community overwhelmed with emotion during vigil for woman strangled to death

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A community is grieving as they gather for a candle light vigil for a woman who was murdered.

Roberta Hugo died Monday morning after being raped and strangled.

Police arrested Jimmy Lewis, also known as “cowboy.”

He was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree murder in the perpetration of a robbery and first-degree murder in the perpetration of a rape.

Many of are still trying to understand why this happened.

“We thank you on this evening for the life of Elaine lord,” a family member said.

Candles and balloons were in the hands of family and friends who were fighting back tears during the candle light vigil for Roberta Hugo, also known as Elaine.

Related: Police identify woman found strangled to death in North Memphis

Police say the 56-year-old was walking home from work at the Crown Supermarket when someone she knew raped and strangled her while trying to rob her.

“I was just in shock,” Alieen Thompson said.

Overwhelmed with emotion, Elaine’s son Joseph Hugo is trying to come to grips with losing both parents on the same day – five years apart.

“It hurts that it happened to her the same day my dad died,” Hugo said.

He says his mom treated everyone like family.

“She was kind and loving. She loved everybody that came in her path,” the victim’s son said.

Gary Goldberger, her friend of 28 years, says his life has been turned upside down.

“It hurts my heart, we were together so long. But I know she fulfilled her purpose that God gave her to do, and she’s in a much better place now,” Goldberger said.

So many came to pay their respects, friends say she touched hundreds in her North Memphis community.

“She was loved, she was giving. She always had a smile, and she was someone who made her presence known. Her presence will certainly be missed,” Goldberger said.

Another reason people are having a hard time with this is because friends say Elaine and Lewis were friends – in fact, he walked her home from work everyday.

WREG dug into Lewis’ background, and state records show he was guilty of domestic assault in 2007.