Plea deal could be in works for Raven Abaroa
Posted June 5, 2013
Durham, N.C. — A plea deal could be in the works for Raven Abaroa, whose first-degree murder trial for the stabbing death of his wife ended Friday with a Durham jury deadlocked at an 11-1 vote in favor of a guilty verdict.
Durham County Assistant District Attorney Charlene Coggins-Franks and Mani Dexter, a member of Aberoa's defense team, were in court Wednesday morning, but he was not, Dexter said, because of media attention surrounding the case and the possibility that he will face a new trial.
Coggins-Franks, who indicated in court Friday that the state plans to re-try Abaroa, argued that he should be present for certain matters before the court, including discussions about a possible plea deal.
Dexter, would not comment about a deal, and Coggins-Franks could not be reached for comment following Wednesday's hearing.
A new trial date has not been set.
Abaroa, 33, who is being held in the Durham County jail without bond, is accused of fatally stabbing Janet Marie Christiansen Abaroa, 25, in their Durham home on the night of April 26, 2005.
He has maintained his innocence, saying he was playing in a soccer game and returned home to find his wife 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 was killed.
If a plea deal were to be offered, it wouldn't be the first time. Defense attorneys reportedly rejected an offer prior to the five-week trial.
Defense attorneys argued that police focused only on their client as a suspect and ignored or explained away any evidence that could have helped identify another culprit in the case.
But prosecutors argued that Janet Abaroa's death wasn't random and that Raven Abaroa was the only person with any reason to kill her.