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Defense continues effort to repair Abaroa's character

Posted May 23, 2013

— Attempting to undo what they say was damage to their client's reputation, defense attorneys for Raven Abaroa continued calling witnesses Thursday to counter the "dishonest portrait" they say was painted by prosecutors – an image of a controlling and verbally abusive husband who was feared by his wife.

Abaroa Family Images: Janet Abaroa murder case

Abaroa is on trial for first-degree murder in Janet Abaroa's April 26, 2005, stabbing death – a crime he has maintained that he didn't commit.

Taking the stand Thursday morning – the 17th day of testimony – Raven Abaroa's brother, Derek Abaroa, and a family friend, Misty Foxley, echoed earlier witnesses' statements that there was nothing that made them think Raven Abaroa would have been capable of killing his wife.

Prosecutors have offered no clear motive for the crime, and defense attorneys say there's no physical evidence linking him to it. Despite some road bumps in their marriage, including infidelity and a brief separation, the defense has contended that the Abaroas loved one another.

"They were a happy married couple," Derek Abaroa said. "They renewed my faith in marriage. I was just so happy to see them in love and joking around."

"From our impression, Janet and Raven were getting along fine," Foxley said. "They were having normal marital issues. I never ever saw Janet or Raven, in all the years I've known them, treat each other with disrespect."

In the weeks and years after Janet Abaroa's death, Foxley said, she watched Raven Abaroa mourn his wife and then struggle to move on without her and take on the task of raising alone the couple's son, Kaiden, who was 6 months old when his mother died.

She recalled receiving a photo of Kaiden and Raven Abaroa for Christmas. In the photo, Raven Abaroa was holding a portrait of his wife.

"Kaiden knew that picture was momma," she said.

Raven Abaroa, she went onto say, was a great parent and a good person – a sentiment with which Derek Abaroa agreed.

"I love him," he said. "He's a good man, and he's always been an example to me, especially in the realm of responsibility and growing up."

But Foxley testified that one of the greatest struggles Raven Abaroa seemed to have in the years after the murder was with his Mormon faith.

"I think he's not as strong in his faith as he wanted to be," she said, adding that he "struggled with what people might call a sexual addiction."

"The thing with Raven is that I would always tell him these are real struggles that lots of people have," Foxley added. "I believed he would find that peace and that he would seek that forgiveness and turn things around, but it's taken him a while."

On cross-examination, she said it was "unexpected" that Raven Abaroa hadn't been faithful in his marriage because the couple had both expressed to her that they had wanted a strong marriage and she had counseled him on what it meant to be a good husband.

"I would basically tell him to step it up. He liked that. He wanted to. He needed a person who would help him, encourage him to do that," Foxley said. "He saw that my husband and I lived that way."

21 Comments

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 24, 4:47 p.m.

    Don't worry about his character. There are plenty of misogynists in the U.S....many of whom get a tax exemption to do so.

    Instead, focus on the unexplained blood, hand & finger print evidence at the crime scene. This is what will give you reasonable doubt.

  • ripetomatoes May 24, 1:20 p.m.

    Most abusers are nice when they are around other people and portray this image of a nice loving person it is when they are alone with you that they turn into who they really are.bkn02

    Thanks for reminding me why I don't watch Dr. Phil...

    Is your opinion of his character enough to convict?

  • kornfan2448 May 24, 12:50 p.m.

    No clearly identified motive, nothing but circumstantial evidence and unidentified DNA and footprints are clearly enough reasonable doubt to avoid a guilty verdict. I don't know if he did it or not, I haven't seen enough evidence. However, if he did and gets away with it, the fault falls on the prosecution for not presenting a stronger case given the time that has passed. If he didn't, the taxpayers do not need to pay for and house an innocent prisoner.

  • bkn02 May 24, 9:55 a.m.

    Most abusers are nice when they are around other people and portray this image of a nice loving person it is when they are alone with you that they turn into who they really are. Which it sounds like that is what he did. The deceased wife and the ex-wife that testified both told the same story of his behavior and apparently did not know each other.

  • JAT May 24, 9:53 a.m.

    veroprior - exactly! it's just not there.

  • Lightfoot3 May 24, 9:27 a.m.

    Don’t care how people feel about him, good or bad. Don’t care if he doesn’t behave in the emotional way people want him to behave. All I care about is if the state presented evidence, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he actually murdered her. Not that he could have, but that he actually did. They didn’t. The verdict SHOULD be “not guilty”. But you never know (i.e Brad Cooper).

  • tiblet May 24, 8:42 a.m.

    The defendant's brother is just not a powerful character witness. Who isn't going to say their brother is a great person if it keeps him out of jail for life?

  • datenobunaga2 May 23, 7:44 p.m.

    I agree with veroprior and bartmeister. 8 years and this is all that the state can come up with. It does reek of botched work and the hard drive incidence only further compounds the flagrant mangling of this case. While I believe the man is an unsavory type capable of the crime, there is way too much doubt and I believe the defense is right with what they have stated about the handling of evidence and the investigation overall. I personally believe the judge should have granted a mistrial when the hard drive was found, but hey what do I know.

  • veroprior May 23, 7:27 p.m.

    While I strongly think Raven is guilty in this case, I'm not at all sure that the prosecution has presented a convincing case. Not sure I could convict on what has been said.

  • Bartmeister May 23, 5:23 p.m.

    With all of the doubt left, the ex boyfriend and the suppression of evidence I just don't see a conviction here. 8 years and this is all DPD could come up with? But then again with Hudson at the helm, who knows how he'll charge the jury.

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