Local News

Janet Abaroa's family 'terrified' by deadlocked jury

Posted May 31, 2013

— Jurors in the first-degree murder trial of Raven Abaroa continued working Friday toward a unanimous verdict even after the panel of seven men and five women told the presiding judge twice that it could not reach a unanimous verdict.

"We have decided that no amount of deliberation will alter our decision or lead us to a unanimous resolution of guilty or not guilty," Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson read from a second jury note Friday afternoon.

Abaroa, 33, faces an automatic life sentence if convicted of stabbing to death his 25-year-old wife, Janet Abaroa, on April 26, 2005.

Jurors deliberated for nearly eight hours over the past three days before telling Hudson shortly before noon Friday that they were deadlocked 11-1. The jury's foreman did not say which way they were leaning.

The second note said that "the outlying vote has been considered exhaustively and challenged and is still a deeply held conviction."

Abaroa's defense attorney, Amos Tyndall, moved for a mistrial, but Durham County Assistant District Attorney asked that jurors continue until at least 5 p.m.

"It is your duty to do whatever you can to reach a verdict," Hudson said.

Family members of Janet Abaroa were in tears Friday morning and said that they are "exhausted and terrified."

Raven Abaroa's attorney, at one point Friday, patted his client on the shoulder and told him, "Hang in there," Raven Abaroa's family members said they were "doing fine."

Testimony in the five-week trial spanned 19 days and consisted of 82 witnesses and 565 pieces of evidence.

On Thursday, jurors made requests to see several pieces of evidence presented at trial, including crime scene photos, bank and phone records, DNA reports and the 911 call Raven Abaroa made on the night he found his wife dead in an upstairs office of the couple's Durham.

An autopsy found she had been stabbed three times and had recently become pregnant.

Raven Abaroa has maintained his innocence, saying he was playing in a soccer game and returned home to find her crouched on the floor. He was arrested nearly five years later in Idaho, where he lived with the couple's son, who was 6 months old when his mother died.

Defense attorneys argued that police focused only on their client as a suspect and ignored or explained away any evidence that would could have helped identify another culprit in the case

Prosecutors, however, argued that Janet Abaroa's death wasn't random and that Raven Abaroa was the only person with any reason to kill her.


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  • itsmyownopinion May 31, 2013

    I have not followed this case closely, so I haven't made up my mind about his guilt like most of you, but I am wondering about a couple of things I've heard about the case recently, like why was the hard drive to her computer hidden away with evidence she was carrying on some 'flirtation' with another man, and was there a DNA test done on the fetus she was carrying? In any event, the victim is not to be judged, I'm just trying to assess the possible motive.

  • timmystrickland402 May 31, 2013

    well at least he is still in jail

  • whoami May 31, 2013

    Thankfully the one juror hung on. Maybe the state will get their ducks in a row and provide some FACTUAL evidence in the retrial.

  • Bartmeister May 31, 2013

    Well might be taken as a bully tactic but it didn't work.

  • justincaseur2 May 31, 2013

    He didn't do it. The prosecutor never had any real evidence, just a lot of suspicious circumstance.

  • zacksmill May 31, 2013

    Why did they have just one choice? Either guilty of 1st degree murder or not guilty? Why wasn't there a choice of 2nd degree, voluntary manslaughter, etc?

  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness May 31, 2013

    "It is very hard to find 12 people to agree on anything. - zonk"

    And yet, juries are quite capable of rendering verdicts when the evidence and arguments warrant it.

  • foster208 May 31, 2013

    What a miscarriage of justice.

  • jackleg May 31, 2013

    "I don't agree with this whole process of a judge basically saying no, I'm sorry, that's not good enough, go back in there and bully the other person until we have a verdict."

    Yeah, me either. They asked twice to stop, and they went so far the 2nd time as to say it was hopeless.

    That just shows me that if they DO end up with a 12-0 verdict, then someone was verbally abused or worse.

  • jackleg May 31, 2013

    "Every poster here wants suspects put in jail, until the trial, then the person is always not guilty. Take a long hard look in the mirror. You either want justice or you don't."

    WOW!!! I definitely want to see justice served. The problem is that people like you seem to think that justice is "burying him under the jail" based off some silly stories.

    I happen to be VERY strong on crime. I think that if he is guilty, he should punished SEVERELY. However, contrary to popular belief amongst you folks, he's not guilty just because he was arrested. He's not guilty cause people didn't like him. He's not guilty because he extorted some money.

    The state has not produced PROOF he did it. Their case rests on wEAK circumstantial evidence, and they didn't even bother to follow up on the evidence that did not match Raven. Lazy police work all the way around. Let's not even get into the hidden evidence. THAT is criminal.

    Of course I want justice... but I want REAL justice.