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Jury selection begins in Durham mom's stabbing death

Posted April 23, 2013

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— Jury selection began Tuesday morning in the first-degree murder trial of a man accused of killing his wife in their Durham home nearly eight years ago.

Raven Samuel Abaroa, 33, was arrested nearly five years after, he says, he found Janet Christiansen Abaroa, 25, dead in the bedroom of their home after he returned home from a soccer game on April 26, 2005.

An autopsy found Janet Abaroa had been stabbed in the chest and neck and that she was recently pregnant. The couple already had a 6-month-old son, Kaiden. He was at home when his mother was killed but was unharmed.

Authorities haven't commented on a motive for the crime, but new court documents show that Janet Abaroa told a number of friends in the months prior to her death that she feared her husband and that he had a temper.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson, earlier Tuesday, denied a motion by Raven Abaroa's attorney, Amos Tyndall, to dismiss the case, citing shoddy police work, questionable police tactics and a discredited former agent with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

Tyndall argued that investigators focused solely on their client to the exclusion of others, ignoring a blood stain on a door frame that contained unidentified DNA, and that valuable evidence had been destroyed, released or allowed to deteriorate in the years since the crime and an arrest.

Raven Abaroa in court Judge denies motion to dismiss charge in Durham slaying

Tyndall also pointed to SBI testing of a sweatshirt Raven Abaroa had worn in which an analyst determined a stain could have only been created by pressure from a living person. The test was linked to Duane Deaver, a longtime blood analyst who was fired two years ago amid an independent review of questionable practices at the North Carolina State Crime Lab.

Raven Abaroa, who left North Carolina with his son after his wife's death, was arrested Feb. 1, 2010, at his home in Montpelier, Idaho.

In September 2008, he remarried.

His wife, Vanessa Pond, later went to Durham police investigators, claiming rapid mood swings, verbal abuse and physical violence, she said in a May 2009 interview with FOX 50's NC Wanted.

Raven Abaroa never commented on Pond's claims.

In an October 2007 NC Wanted interview, however, he denied killing his wife, saying that the couple had problems in their marriage but that they were working through them when she died.

"Things really started to make sense for us, and that's one of the hardest things with her passing for me is that I don’t understand why everything can all the sudden become so perfect and you can resolve all your problems and you can grow together and you can become parents together," he said in that interview. "Then, by whatever powers, whatever means, she's allowed to have her life taken and leave this earth, and to me, to this day it’s still hard to comprehend."

Raven Abaroa's trial is expected to last two to three weeks. If he's found guilty of first-degree murder, he faces life in prison.

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  • Terkel Apr 23, 2013

    carrboroyouth, read the story again. She was talking about fearing him LONG before she had the first baby. There would have been no child to harm had she left then. Don't know what you're defending.

    She had friends that she was close enough to confide in. One of them could have helped her escape while he was at work. LE could have come to her assistance as she moved out. She could have gotten to safety, regrouped, and gotten away permanently.

    Does anyone wonder why I scorn these nonsense "awareness" activists and their "programs"?

  • carrboroyouth Apr 23, 2013

    Some people clearly have never been in an abusive relationship...

    Q:"If she truly feared him, why didn't she leave instead of continue to sleep with him and ultimately get pregnant."

    A: If she leaves, he could kill/hurt her or the child. If she refuses his advances, he could kill/hurt her or the child.

    It's not hard to understand, and clearly she knew this man had the capability to harm.

  • ConservativeVoter Apr 23, 2013

    "Yesterday the story said that the murdered woman had feared him for at least a couple of years before becoming pregnant. Why on earth didn't she leave instead of getting in deeper? Now we learn she was pregnant at or around the time of her murder? SMH.
    Terkel"

    If she truly feared him, why didn't she leave instead of continue to sleep with him and ultimately get pregnant.

  • ConservativeVoter Apr 23, 2013

    Another case of the husband being railroaded into prison over his wife's death.

    In North Carolina they never investigate anybody other than the husband.

    When evidence points to another person, they either ignore, damage, or destroy the evidence.

  • valleyGirl Apr 23, 2013

    Classic case of police mishandling the evidence. How can anyone ever get convicted.

  • Vincent Vega Apr 23, 2013

    Had a temper = murderer in NC, smells like the Brad Cooper case, mishandled by the police yet again.

    They argued that investigators focused solely on their client to the exclusion of others, ignoring a blood stain on a door frame that contained unidentified DNA, and that valuable evidence had been destroyed, released or allowed to deteriorate in the years since the crime and an arrest.

  • hmmmmm Apr 23, 2013

    @Terkel....nobody understands the reasoning behind people staying in abusive relationships. I could not imagine myself ever tolerating something of that nature. At the same time, I watched my sister do it for 25 years! She would say she was done & even leave; he always sweet talked her back home, or she would go back on her own, saying she couldn't just throw away all the years she had invested in the relationship. I think something happens in the minds of the victims and it makes them sympathize & need their abuser; sort of like Stockholm Syndrome. It is sad that she lost her life and the life of her unborn child, as well as left a child dependent on someone like that. Co-dependency goes hand in hand with abuse unfortunately. All we can do is continue the fight against this scourge.

  • Terkel Apr 23, 2013

    Yesterday the story said that the murdered woman had feared him for at least a couple of years before becoming pregnant. Why on earth didn't she leave instead of getting in deeper? Now we learn she was pregnant at or around the time of her murder? SMH.