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Ax murder victim and single mom of 3 repeatedly warned police about ‘violent’ ex she feared would kill her, lawsuit will allege

Ewen Dewitt, Julie Minogue

Ewen Dewitt (Milford Police Department), Julie Minogue (WTNH/screengrab)

The family of a 40-year-old Connecticut mother of three has noticed its intent to file a civil lawsuit against police and the City of Milford after her ex-boyfriend allegedly violated a protective order and murdered her with an ax in front of their 3-year-old son in December 2022, the family’s attorney told Law&Crime.

According to the Milford Police Department’s initial statement on the brutal homicide, Julie Minogue’s 17-year-old son was the one who called 911 on the night of Dec. 6 to report that Ewen Dewitt, now 43, attacked and killed his mother with an ax. The mother’s 3-year-old son was in the home at the time and witnessed the attack, the family’s attorney in the forthcoming civil case Michael Rosnick confirmed to Law&Crime.

The slaying occurred five days after Minogue was “granted a full no contact Restraining Order against the suspect following a complaint that the suspect sent her harassing text messages,” the Milford Police Department said. The department later specified that Dewitt sent 200 texts over the course of two days in November 2022.

Dewitt, of Roxbury, was arrested in a trailer in West Haven hours after the murder, cops said. He was charged with murder, home invasion, criminal violation of a standing protective order, criminal violation of a restraining order, and risk of injury to a child, all felonies. Connecticut court records show the defendant also faces a harassment case for his alleged actions in November, and a felony assault and risk of injury to a child case dating back to 2019 — in which an allegedly drunken Dewitt is accused of throwing a playpen at Minogue as she held their then-infant son. News 12 reported that Minogue needed five staples to close the resulting wound to the back of her head.

On Dec. 15, Milford Police Chief Keith L. Mello announced that Officer Scott Knablin was being placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs probe into his handling of a warrant application that was not fully completed until after Minogue’s death.

“On November 14, 2022, Julie Minogue came to the police department to file a complaint against Ewen Dewitt for sending her over 200 text messages from November 12-14, 2022, violating the Protective Order that prohibited him from harassing her. Officer Knablin interviewed Julie, and he collected the evidence from her cell phone records that she later provided,” Mello said. “On Friday November 18, 2022, Officer Knablin completed an arrest warrant application for Ewen Dewitt, charging him with Violation of a Protective Order. Per policy, the arrest warrant application was reviewed by a supervisor, and both the supervisor and the officer believed that the arrest warrant application contained the requisite Probable Cause to support the charge that the text messages sent by Mr. Dewitt violated the modified Protective Order that was issued on January 15, 2021. When court re-opened on November 21, 2022, the warrant application was submitted to the Ansonia/Milford State’s Attorney’s Office. That same day, the Assistant State’s Attorney denied the warrant and sent it back to Officer Knablin requesting additional information be provided.”

WTNH reported that Julie Minogue wrote that she was “afraid [Dewitt’s] going to kill me” before her death. The plaintiff’s family reportedly intends to argue that Dewitt “had a long history of violent behavior against Ms. Minogue and others, all of which was known or should have been known, to the proposed defendants.” WFSB reported that Dewitt served time in North Carolina after being sentenced there in September for abusing another woman.

According to Chief Mello, the “additional information” requested by prosecutors was not added to the warrant application until Dec. 9, after the case was handed off to a different detective.

“As per policy, Officer Knablin had an obligation to gather that information requested by the Assistant State’s Attorney and resubmit the arrest warrant application as soon as possible. A formal Internal Affairs Investigation has been initiated regarding the timeliness of his response. Officer Knablin has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the Internal Investigation into his actions,” Mello added. The top cop concluded his statement by vowing to find ways to “enhance the Judicial GPS Monitoring Program for offenders of domestic violence, including expanding the criteria for their use.”

Attorney Rosnick said that Julie Minogue’s family intends to sue and effect lasting change for victims of domestic violence.

“The family intends to make its best efforts to hold accountable those who failed to perform their respective duties,” Rosnick said in a statement. “In addition, they hope that this case will serve as a vehicle to provide better protections to those who are at risk from domestic violence and abuse.”

An obituary for Julie Minogue said that she was born in Goshen, New York, and worked as a medical assistant for Connecticut Coastal Obstetrics Gynecology.

“She was an avid runner and walker, but her greatest passion were her children. As a single mother she did a tremendous job raising three boys which is reflected in their love and dedication to her,” the obituary said. “Her children have suffered a loss beyond words and will require prayers, care, and love. Her life will be memorialized in the lives of her children.”

Minogue is survived by her parents, three children, a brother, a sister, and numerous extended family members.

A GoFundMe campaign started by Julie’s sister Allison said that her loved one “was a victim of domestic violence and had tried multiple times to keep her and her children safe.”

“Julie spent most of her parenting years as a single parent. She navigated working full-time and caring for her boys with ease and love,” Allison said.

The GoFundMe has raised more than $150,000 as of Friday afternoon.

Connecticut Department of Correction records reviewed by Law&Crime show that Dewitt is locked up on a total bond of $6,501,000.

A hearing in Dewitt’s pending criminal cases is set for 10 a.m. on April 6. Court records list the status of the case as “awaiting plea.” Prosecutors reportedly say the defendant has already confessed to killing Minogue.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.