The ex-boyfriend of an outspoken advocate for domestic violence survivors was indicted Tuesday on charges of murdering her.
Nathaniel Mitchell, 34, is accused of beating Donna Alexander in the head with an unknown object on Sept. 21 in her home in Grand Prairie, roughly 13 miles west of Dallas.
Mitchell allegedly broke into the 36-year-old entrepreneur’s house through her bedroom window in the middle of the night and assaulted her as her two children hid in their rooms. Alexander was taken to the hospital, where she died of her injuries three days later.
A Tarrant County grand jury indicted Mitchell on multiple charges Tuesday, including murder and burglary with the intent to commit aggravated assault.
Alexander was best known for founding the Anger Room, a company in Dallas that rents out rooms to people who are looking for an outlet for their rage. Customers destroy items in a customized “rage room” in five-, 15- or 25-minute sessions.
The Chicago native had said she first came up with the idea for her business when she was 16.
Customers “get gratification — and relief of whatever they have going on in their personal lives or work issues,” Alexander told CBS in 2015. “It prevents them from lashing in the public world — breaking other people’s property, putting their hands on other people.”
Though Alexander hoped to curb domestic violence with her business, experts say anger has little to do with such domestic abuse.
“It is now widely accepted that domestic violence is not about anger but instead it is the abuser’s desire to control his partner through any means that will work,” Australia’s Domestic Violence Prevention Centre says on its website.
Since its opening in 2008, the Anger Room had been highlighted in several news outlets and TV shows, including “The Real Housewives of Dallas.” The episode featuring the Anger Room aired three days before Alexander’s assault.
Alexander’s death is especially tragic given her anti-violence focus, her sister Lauren Armour told The Chicago Tribune in October.
“No matter how much [Donna] tried to get away from it, [Mitchell] always ended up back in her life,” Armour said. “She was talented, creative, loved people and loved them hard. Despite how ugly a person might be, she loved them hard.”
Mitchell is being held in Tarrant County Jail. He faces life in prison if convicted.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.