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In July 1992, Ms. Brownlee was pregnant again. “He said, ‘I’m not having this baby,’” she said. “He smacked me.”

Then she fled, returning only for a bag of clothes for the children, first carrying her sleeping 3-year-old to a nearby room. He appeared behind her, and when she turned to face him, he fired. She would learn months later what happened as she lay dying.

A cousin of Mr. Irvin’s arrived, unannounced, and walked into a scene of bloodshed. “The house looked like the ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’” a prosecutor later said. The cousin picked her up, carried her to his car and drove her to a hospital in Patchogue, leaving her in a wheelchair out front, where staff members found her and rushed her inside.

Later that day, the police arrived at Mr. Irvin’s home. There was blood all over — no badge was going to make this go away. He was arrested and charged with attempted murder. The prosecutor on the case, Keri Herzog, was a young assistant district attorney in Suffolk County. She visited the hospital to check on the victim.

“She was covered in tubes,” Ms. Herzog still remembers. “We weren’t sure she was going to make it.” She brought the foreman of the grand jury that was in session to the hospital, along with a detective and a stenographer, to take a formal bedside statement in case she did not survive.

Ms. Brownlee has no memories of this questioning. Her first recollection is from 33 days after the shooting, when she awoke from a coma. She asked her doctor a question, dreading the answer.

“He said, ‘The baby didn’t make it,’” she said. “‘It was a boy. He lived for two hours.’”

Her life as she’d known it seemed over. “I was paralyzed from the waist down,” she said. A series of surgeries followed: “Gall bladder, colon and vaginal repair, bladder surgeries,” she said. “Partial hysterectomy. Hip.”

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