Durham, N.C. — An exhumation of Janet Abaroa's body more than five years after she was found stabbed to death in her Durham home revealed that she had been wearing contacts when she was buried.
Dr. Charles Zwerling, a Goldsboro ophthalmologist who examined the remains of the 25-year-old's eyes, testified Thursday in the first-degree murder trial of her husband, Raven Abaroa, that he found fragments of Acuvue lenses in samples he received from Durham police.
Raven Abaroa, facing life in prison if convicted, told detectives that Janet Abaroa was getting ready to get in bed when he left for a soccer game sometime around 8 p.m. on April 26, 2005.
When he arrived home, sometime after 10:30 p.m., he has said he found her on the floor in an upstairs office.
Janet Abaroa's sister and best friend, have testified that she always took out her contact lenses before she went to bed. A police investigator testified that Raven Abaroa also told him that she removed them before bed.
Defense attorney Amos Tyndall, who says police ignored evidence that might have pointed to someone else committing the crime, objected to jurors seeing photos of the exhumation and of Janet Abaroa's eyes – photos he described as "unnecessarily gory."
Raven Abaroa, 33, became visibly upset, his face turning red and eyes tearing up as attorneys talked about the matter.
The state hasn't offered a clear motive for Janet Abaroa's death but has painted Raven Abaroa as a controlling husband with a pattern of verbal abuse against women, including his second wife, who testified that he shoved her against a wall during an argument on the day of her bridal shower.
Prosecutors appear to be close to wrapping up their case. Testimony lasted for less than two hours Thursday and will resume Monday, when they plan to call a computer forensics examiner to testify about information on Janet Abaroa's work computer.
Assistant District Attorney Charlene Coggins-Franks told Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson that the hard drive from the computer, as well as a PDA found in Raven Abaroa's SUV, were found Thursday morning sealed in a locked cabinet at the Durham Police Department.
Court is recessed until Monday to give both the state and defense a chance to analyze the items.