A Las Vegas woman who was beaten to death by an intruder was a caring mother who spent the majority of her life giving to others, her daughters said Friday.
“My mother, she was a kind soul,” said Gwendolyn Alexander’s younger daughter, 31-year-old Dana Jackson of Las Vegas. “She was an angel. She made plenty of sacrifices for us.”
Alexander’s older daughter, Iris Alexander of Houston, described her mother as “a kind, kindred spirit.”
“My mom always said, ‘If you have the ability to help someone, help them,’” the 34-year-old woman said.
Las Vegas police said Gwendolyn Alexander, 63, was killed Feb. 24 at her residence at the Terrasanta Condominiums, 5650 E. Sahara Ave., while on a 30-minute work break. A man she did not know, and who lived in an apartment below hers, has been charged with murder in what police described as an unprovoked attack.
The woman’s daughters said the crime is beyond comprehension.
“To have that much hate in your heart to kill someone?” Iris Alexander said. “That’s mind-boggling to us. You killed a woman who was like a Mother Teresa to so many people, and she never bothered you. It is just sad to us, and there is no motive.”
Gwendolyn Alexander’s daughters said their mother’s giving nature was evident when she was growing up in Chicago in the 1960s. She helped her father, a single parent, raise four of her seven siblings in the family home when she was just a girl.
“My mother stepped up to the plate and became that motherly figure to her siblings,” Iris Alexander said.
Then, when Gwendolyn Alexander became a single parent herself, she worked long hours to provide for her kids.
She obtained an associate’s degree, then worked for Illinois Bell Telephone Co., Ameritech and the Chicago Housing Authority. She worked mostly customer service jobs in Chicago and later in Las Vegas, where she was employed by Sprint for years. Her daughters said she was working as a customer service representative for a major health care company at the time of her death.
“A very hard worker,” Jackson said. “A great woman. She really was. She touched a lot of people while she was here. ”
Jackson said her mother moved to Las Vegas from Chicago in 2006 to get away from crime. She also wanted to give her younger daughter a fresh start in Southern Nevada after her older daughter went off to college.
Las Vegas police said Gwendolyn Alexander’s downstairs neighbor, Jason Valencia, 32, of Las Vegas, is charged with murder. Police said in Valencia’s arrest report that he confessed to entering the apartment and striking the woman for no reason. She was pronounced dead a short time later at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
The Clark County coroner’s office identified Gwendolyn Alexander by the last name of Milton, which is the name on her birth certificate, but her family said her last name is her legal name of Alexander.
Valencia told police he was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana and didn’t remember much of the homicide. His girlfriend told police he uttered a racial slur as he emerged from the residence of Gwendolyn Alexander, who was Black.
The victim’s daughters said they don’t know whether the crime was committed out of racial hatred, but they find the detail about the slur deeply troubling, and they think their mother’s killer should be punished severely.
“This is a crime against the elderly,” Iris Alexander said. “A senseless crime. If the death penalty is on the table, I believe he should get it.”
The sisters are planning a March 13 funeral and burial for their mother in Louisiana, where her family is from. They’ve also created a GoFundMe account for help with those expenses.
“My mother will be buried where her grandfather, her mother and her grandmother are buried,” Iris Alexander said.