Local News

Defense reportedly rejected plea deal for Raven Abaroa

Posted May 1, 2013 9:50 a.m. EDT
Updated May 1, 2013 4:24 p.m. EDT

— Prosecutors reportedly offered a plea deal to a man accused of killing his wife in their Durham home eight years ago, sources tell WRAL News.

Raven Abaroa, 33, is on trial for first-degree murder in the April 26, 2005, stabbing death of Janet Marie Christiansen Abaroa, 25.

He was arrested for the crime nearly five years later but has maintained his innocence.

Sources say the deal was offered prior to the case going to trial but that Raven Abaroa's attorneys rejected the offer. It's unclear how long before the trial the deal was offered or what it entailed.

Neither the state nor the defense would confirm the offer Wednesday.

Wednesday would have marked the third day of testimony in the trial, but a sick juror prompted Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson to continue the trial until Thursday morning.

Donna Jackson, a crime scene investigator with the Durham Police Department, was on the witness stand when court recessed Tuesday afternoon. She spent the day walking jurors through the scene of the crime and showing them graphic video and images of Janet Abaroa's body.

Jackson said she found no apparent evidence of forced entry into the couple's home, but she did note what appeared to be blood on a side door leading to the driveway.

She also testified that she found two spots of interest in Raven Abaroa's Dodge Durango – one on the driver's side door and the other on the driver's seat cushion – that, in a presumptive test, tested positive for blood.

Prosecutors haven't offered a motive for Janet Abaroa's murder and said during opening statements Monday that their case will be built upon circumstantial evidence that, when pieced together, will give them reason beyond a doubt that Raven Abaroa is guilty of murder.

But defense attorneys said that investigators focused only on Raven Abaroa as a suspect and ignored evidence, including the blood stain on the door, which contained DNA that did not belong to him.

Raven Abaroa has said that he was at a soccer match in Morrisville when Janet Abaroa died and that he returned home to find her crouched over on the floor and their 6-month-old son unharmed in another room.

Weeks after her death, he moved to Utah with his 6-month-old son, and he remarried in September 2008. He later moved to Idaho, where he was arrested in February 2010.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Raven Abaroa faces an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole.