NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — April Lee Logan was a bubbly and charismatic 22-year-old.
She was up for a promotion at Target and made a deposit to move into her own apartment. Sadly, the move never happened.

Early August 22, 2020, her ex-boyfriend shot and killed her. Matthew Coglio originally told a Newport News police officer it was an accident, but neighbors reported hearing an argument inside their Chesapeake Bay apartment.

Her mom, Robin, said April struggled to leave the toxic relationship since high school. Her 22-year-old daughter planned to leave for good this time after several breakups. The red flags were there and now Robin hopes her story will help others.

“April’s got a big story to tell and I’m going to tell it!”

In 2018, April filed a protective order against Coglio. He was charged with domestic assault. The case did not move forward. Court records show the two-year protective order expired less than a week before she died.

“She just had so much life and so much love to give,” said Robin. “There was no reason for this to happen. It was really senseless.”

Almost two years to the date, on August 19, 2022, a Judge sentenced Coglio to a total of 22 years and 10 months of active jail time.
A jury found him guilty of second-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and maliciously shooting into an occupied building.

Coglio’s attorney filed an appeal, according to court documents.

“It was heart-wrenching to hear some of that and to see it play out in court,” said Robin stating that the jury trial was very emotionally draining and often felt like there was victim-shaming against her daughter. Now, Robin urges people to leave toxic relationships.

“April’s death was tragic, but there have been a few people since her death that she knew were apparently in situations like that and they since have left and gotten help. So, it wasn’t in vain.” She said, unfortunately, “there is always a would of, could of, should of that will haunt [me] no matter what.”

She said if your loved one is not ready to leave, just reassure them and let them know you love them and will be there for them no matter what. She wants survivors and families to reach out to the local domestic violence resources like the Newport News Police Department Domestic Violence Unit or G.R.O.W foundation.

In 2020, April’s death was the only domestic-related homicide in the city, according to the Newport News police. In the years following, deadly domestic violence has gone up significantly.

NNPD reports 7 domestic-related homicides in 2021 and 6 in 2022.

Information from the Newport News Police Department

The Newport News Police Department Domestic Violence Unit was created a few months before April’s death.

“Talking about April really just brings up a lot of emotion,” said Cheryl Chavers, NNPD Domestic Violence Unit Specialist. “When we came on board, April Lee Logan, at that time, was the first homicide that our unit was informed about. April holds a very special place in our hearts. I think about her very often when I’m talking with victims of domestic violence and when I’m trying to give them hope. Informing them of ways that they can move to safety.”

Chavers works every day to prevent domestic-related homicides. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the reports and cases have grown.

“We’re seeing it and the sense of urgency to be able to help victims get to safety is at an all-time high.”

She visits neighborhoods with a high number of domestic calls or shootings. Recently, she presented a domestic violence workshop to the Aqueduct Apartment complex’s residents and staff. The department reports that 44% of crime at the Aqueduct Apartment complex is domestic-related.

She also visited the Cypress Terrace apartments. The presentation shares information about the dangers of domestic violence. She also explains factors that make it difficult for people to leave toxic relationships.

Police Chief Steve Drew worked with the city leaders to create the unit. Chief Drew said there is a clear need for resources, and officer and community awareness training.

“If you ask me if we are seeing fewer domestic violence calls today than we were a year or two years ago, I would say, no. I do believe we have better in-house training,” he said. “We are not yet where I want to be. What can we do bigger and better? What more partnership can we bring in and more people to the table?”

Newport News Police has created the April Lee Logan Memorial Fund to help survivors.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
10 on your side is committed to helping break the cycle of abuse.
This month we’ll bring you stories of the impact of domestic violence in our communities.

If you or you know someone who may be a victim of domestic violence or child abuse, click here for a list of local and national resources.