Local News

Second plea deal offered in Abaroa murder case, sources say

Posted March 11

Photo courtesy of the Christiansen family

— 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.

01 - Janet Abaroa murder case WRAL.com archive: Janet Abaroa murder case

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.

14 Comments

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  • sandim50 Mar 11, 2:22 p.m.

    goalieman.in the family portrait he also looks lie a wonderful person. Unlike the current unshaven, balding person in a prison jump suit. Do YOU have evidence that "HE SHOULD ROT IN JAIL"? see my previous comment for my rationale that he is NOT GUILTY

  • canucmypointofview Mar 11, 2:14 p.m.

    He's looking at getting out @ approx. 60 years of age if he takes a plea, life in prison if he's convicted...I bet he's going to roll the dice and make the state retry him. What else does he have to lose?

  • sandim50 Mar 11, 2:14 p.m.

    I think that another trial is like a double jepordy thing. If you can not find a person either guilty or not guilty on the first trial
    they should be freed. Eventually you may pick a jury that will convict on the same evidence. If both sides are satisfied with the first jury when seated, then it is either Guilty or free. e are married for many years, have had similar problems to them. One of has bi-polar, which indicates mood swings. No murder in our marriage Another instance of the spouse being the only suspect BAH!

  • Lightfoot3 Mar 11, 1:21 p.m.

    "I did nt think the state made a good case against Raven Abaroa" - sweetlyght


    As we've seen in recent NC cases, that really doesn't matter with some juries. All the state has to do is offer someone up and they'll convict.


    "I've been married 11 years and I'd hate to have someone put our hard times on trial. I'd be locked up for sure." - sweetlyght


    Exactly! Most marriages have some kind of ups and downs. That doesn't PROVE murder.

  • Proud Young Grandma Mar 11, 1:15 p.m.

    DJOFRALEIGH - he was only arrested in 2010. That is my understanding anyhow.

  • djofraleigh Mar 11, 1:08 p.m.

    He has about 9 years served already. In a plea, that could be figured in to make it more attractive to him. Meanwhile, his lovely wife is dead, his son without a father or mother, and he has been in jail.

  • Goalieman Mar 11, 1:08 p.m.

    Granted, everyone can have a bad side but Janet looked like she was a wonderful person to know. With that said, Raven should rot in jail!

  • luvbailey Mar 11, 1:02 p.m.

    With 11-1 guilty on the first trial, it seems highly un-likely that his lawyers will ever win acquittal no matter how many times the case is tried, and each trial runs the risk of conviction. He better take the deal if he ever wants to get out of prison.

  • sweetlyght Mar 11, 12:15 p.m.

    I did nt think the state made a good case against Raven Abaroa. They didn't do a good job placing him at the scene. They didn't truly discredit what he said happened. They withheld a computer that showed his wife was communicating to other men through out most of the trial. They tried to make shopping for life insurance sound criminal despite the fact it was YEARS before her death. I thought his version of events sounded credible. Just because the marriage wasn't perfect and money wasn't great doesn't mean he wanted her dead. I've been married 11 years and I'd hate to have someone put our hard times on trial. I'd be locked up for sure. But we're in love and I wouldn't want to see anything happen to my family.

  • saturn5 Mar 11, 12:11 p.m.

    Motive doesn't equal guilt. If I were on the jury I'd need more than that to convict.

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