Second plea deal offered in Abaroa murder case, sources say
Posted March 11
Durham, N.C. — Durham prosecutors have offered another plea deal to a man set to go to trial a second time for the stabbing death of his wife nearly nine years ago, sources told WRAL News on Tuesday.
Raven Abaroa's five-week first-degree murder trial last year for the death of 25-year-old Janet Christiansen Abaroa ended in a mistrial after a jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of a guilty verdict.
Shortly after the first trial, the state offered Raven Abaroa 19 to 24 years in prison if he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, but he rejected that deal.
The terms of the current deal have not been disclosed.
A previously scheduled hearing for pre-trial motions in his retrial – set to begin next week – is still scheduled for Wednesday. Sources say members of Janet Abaroa's family are expected to be in court then.
Raven Abaroa, 34, has said he left his home on Ferrand Drive for a soccer match on the night of April 26, 2005, and returned a few hours later to find his wife crouched on the floor in their upstairs office.
An autopsy found she had been stabbed three times in her left hand, chest and neck – with the fatal wound being in the neck. She was also likely in the very early stages of pregnancy at the time.
Durham police arrested Raven Abaroa in February 2010 in Idaho, where he had been living with the couple's son who was 6 months old when Janet Abaroa was killed.
Defense attorneys contended during Raven Abaroa's murder trial that police only focused on him as a suspect and ignored or explained away any evidence that could have helped identify another culprit in the case.
But prosecutors painted Raven Abaroa as a controlling and verbally abusive husband who cheated on his wife and had a penchant for spending money.
Witnesses testified that the couple had marital problems – including a brief separation in 2004 – and financial problems and that Janet Abaroa feared her husband, his temper and wild mood swings.