Real Housewives of Dallas castmember shares connection with homicide victim Donna Alexander

One of the Real Housewives of Dallas is reacting to news of the death of a well-known entrepreneur who advocated against domestic violence.

D’Andra Simmons remembers meeting Donna Alexander, the creator of the Anger Room in Dallas.

"Such a good soul and a nice person. You remember people like that in your life," Simmons said. "When I found out what happened to her I had no idea, which is quite often the story."

Grand Prairie police said Alexander was violently assaulted on Friday, Sept. 21. She was later taken off life support, her estranged boyfriend, now charged with murder.

"Successful women, that it looks like they have everything going for them from the outside, but then there's a secret they're hiding,” said Simmons. 

Simmons says she was hiding a similar secret 10 years ago, when she found herself dating someone she thought she could trust. One day, he began to change, becoming violent and over time, it continued to escalate -- until it was nearly too late.

"Pulled out a lot of my hair, he broke my fingers, he fractured my skull, I had internal bleeding. At the end of the time, I remember saying to him, I said, 'I can't do this anymore.' I tried to call out, and all the phones, he destroyed all the phones. They were either broken or he threw them away. I couldn't use the phone, I couldn't get out the door. I said, 'There's a rifle in the back room, just go, it's loaded. Just put it to my head and shoot me because I can't do this anymore.'"

Simmons says she couldn’t deal with the pain, but didn’t know how to get out until she had the courage to ask for help.

Simmons went to a women’s shelter, received counseling and became strong enough to walk away. It was part of her life story she didn’t talk about until recently. As a domestic violence survivor, she said she owes it to everyone to talk about it because she can.

"Get the counseling and get the encouragement to be able to leave because I promise you, I was there. I wish I had talked to somebody a long time before I did. If I had, I would have been out a lot earlier. Luckily I didn’t lose my life, but Donna did, and don't let her death be for nothing."

Nathaniel Mitchell, the man accused of killing Donna Alexander remains in the Tarrant County Jail, charged with murder. 

A vigil will be held for Alexander on Monday night at Cole Park in Oak Lawn.