The ex-boyfriend of an anti-domestic violence advocate and entrepreneur who was beaten to death in September was indicted Tuesday on a murder charge, according to authorities.
Nathaniel Mitchell, 35, of Lewisville, is accused of beating Donna Alexander, who died from severe head injuries on Sept. 24 in a Dallas hospital.
Mitchell also faces charges of burglary with the intent to commit assault and intent to commit aggravated assault, according to the grand jury indictment.
Mitchell was arrested Sept. 21 by Grand Prairie police and charged with aggravated assault, but that charge was upgraded to murder after Alexander died.
Alexander received local and national attention in 2008 as the creator of the Anger Room, a facility that allowed visitors to alleviate stress by smashing items in rooms made to look like a workplace or living area, according to the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.
The business was featured on an episode of “The Real Housewives of Dallas,” according to reporting from the Chicago Tribune.
Alexander hoped to expand the idea to additional cities in Texas and nationwide.
Mitchell was in custody in the Tarrant County Jail Wednesday. Bond on the murder charge was set at $250,000, according to jail records.
The case has been assigned to Criminal District Court No. 2, and will be handled by the district attorney’s Intimate Partner Violence team.
Alexander’s sister, Lauren Armour of Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, called her sister’s manner of death particularly tragic, the Tribune reported.
“Donna’s thing was, instead of people hurting people, why not let it out on objects so a life isn’t lost, to keep people out of jail?” Armour told a Tribune reporter. “A therapeutic way to get the anger from inside of them and help to relieve stress.”
Mitchell had taken Alexander to the emergency room with severe injuries on Sept. 21 but “staff believed his story was inconsistent with her injuries,” the Tribune reported.
“No matter how much she tried to get away from it, he 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.”
Alexander grew up near the White Sox ballpark and attended Dunbar Vocational Career Academy, her sister said.
She moved to the Dallas area as a young adult, and at first tested her business model by allowing friends and family to bash household items for $5 in her garage.
In an interview with the Tribune about her business just a few weeks before her death, Alexander said her inspiration for Anger Room came from growing up in Chicago and seeing people go to jail for behaviors like punching holes in a wall.
“We’re all born with anger,” Alexander told the Tribune. “I just figured it was an alternative, a way to get rid of anger.”
Businesses similar to the Anger Room were started nationwide after Alexander pioneered the idea.
“I think it’s a primal instinct we have,” Alexander told the Tribune. “Afterward, it’s like a weight has been lifted.”
Armour said Alexander loved raising her young son and daughter, and made clothes for needy children and donated food and hygiene products to the homeless.