Local News

Defense reportedly rejected plea deal for Raven Abaroa

Posted May 1, 2013

— Prosecutors reportedly offered a plea deal to a man accused of killing his wife in their Durham home eight years ago, sources tell WRAL News.

01 - Janet Abaroa murder case Complete Coverage: Janet Abaroa murder case

Raven Abaroa, 33, is on trial for first-degree murder in the April 26, 2005, stabbing death of Janet Marie Christiansen Abaroa, 25.

He was arrested for the crime nearly five years later but has maintained his innocence.

Sources say the deal was offered prior to the case going to trial but that Raven Abaroa's attorneys rejected the offer. It's unclear how long before the trial the deal was offered or what it entailed.

Neither the state nor the defense would confirm the offer Wednesday.

Wednesday would have marked the third day of testimony in the trial, but a sick juror prompted Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson to continue the trial until Thursday morning.

Donna Jackson, a crime scene investigator with the Durham Police Department, was on the witness stand when court recessed Tuesday afternoon. She spent the day walking jurors through the scene of the crime and showing them graphic video and images of Janet Abaroa's body.

Jackson said she found no apparent evidence of forced entry into the couple's home, but she did note what appeared to be blood on a side door leading to the driveway.

She also testified that she found two spots of interest in Raven Abaroa's Dodge Durango – one on the driver's side door and the other on the driver's seat cushion – that, in a presumptive test, tested positive for blood.

Prosecutors haven't offered a motive for Janet Abaroa's murder and said during opening statements Monday that their case will be built upon circumstantial evidence that, when pieced together, will give them reason beyond a doubt that Raven Abaroa is guilty of murder.

But defense attorneys said that investigators focused only on Raven Abaroa as a suspect and ignored evidence, including the blood stain on the door, which contained DNA that did not belong to him.

Raven Abaroa has said that he was at a soccer match in Morrisville when Janet Abaroa died and that he returned home to find her crouched over on the floor and their 6-month-old son unharmed in another room.

Weeks after her death, he moved to Utah with his 6-month-old son, and he remarried in September 2008. He later moved to Idaho, where he was arrested in February 2010.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Raven Abaroa faces an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole.


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  • Lightfoot3 May 3, 2013

    “how in the world could she have been on her knees?” - gem825

    Should she have been lying prone with her arms crossed, holding a lily? People die in all kinds of positions. She was probably trying to get up off the floor, by the common practice of getting to her knees first, but never made it beyond that. Doesn’t mean he’s innocent (though I haven’t seen any evidence that he’s guilty), but I doubt even if he was guilty that he would make up something about the position she was in when found. The simplest would be that she was just lying there.

  • gem825 May 2, 2013

    Also Tigress, if she lost blood and died quickly ( than goodness!) how in the world could she have been on her knees? I've always found this strange.

  • canucmypointofview May 2, 2013

    Anyone else missing the sound here??

  • tigresspen May 2, 2013


    I wonder about her being killed before he left for game also. He told Investigator Craig he found her crouched down with head on floor and hands under head. He said he tried to stop bleeding (which means if this was after the game he had to have been one who laid her out as officers found her) But he also said she'd told him she couldn't do this again. That is what got me thinking instead of things being friendly and loving that night they'd argued and he killed her.

  • tigresspen May 2, 2013

    JAT his only child was 6-mthh-old.

  • JAT May 1, 2013

    survives - Ah, ok. Were his kids in the game? Surely, the coach would have taken roll-call. That changes everything.

  • Obamacare survives May 1, 2013

    I'll bet by now, even Raven believes he's innocent.

  • tigresspen May 1, 2013

    JAT, his lawyer said he never socialized with other soccer players so could be they simply didn't pay attention to whether he was at the game. Especially if he wasn't sent in to actually play that night.

  • concerncitizen May 1, 2013

    Anyone know why he was at the soccer game? Someone he knows was playing? Was he in the game?

  • OneNationUnderGod May 1, 2013

    The headline makes it sound as if one of the jurors became sick at the trial. How about changing it to "calls in sick"?-Terkel

    Because then they could not sensationlalize the story and we probably would not have taken the time to even open or read it...thats the looney folks we know as the the "media"