Judge orders Abaroa exhumed

Janet and Raven Abaroa (Photo Courtesy ABC News)
July 12, 2010 3:35:05 PM PDT
A Pennsylvania judge told Durham County prosecutors Friday afternoon that they can exhume the remains of Janet Abaroa for more evidence in the murder case against her husband Raven Abaroa.

Janet's family said earlier this month that Raven reneged on an agreement to allow authorities to exhume her body from her final resting place in Pennsylvania, and they were going to court with prosecutors to move the process forward.

Judge Douglas Herman said Friday that experts can remove Janet's body from Brown's Mill Cemetery in Antrim Township, Pennsylvania. It will be kept in the custody of the Franklin County, Pennsylvania coroner while the tests are done and then reinterred. The exhumation is now July 19.

Raven Abaroa, 35, faces first-degree murder charges. Authorities extradited him from Montpelier, Idaho on February 26.

Janet, 25, was found stabbed to death in the couple's home on Ferrand Drive in Durham on April 26, 2005. She was pregnant at the time of her death.

Their son, who was 6-months-old at the time, was found unharmed, sleeping in a room next to where Janet's body was found.

Raven Abaroa has denied involvement in her death and says he was at a soccer game the night of his wife's murder.

In the hours before her death, Janet Abaroa, who was in the early stages of pregnancy, picked up her son Kaiden at daycare and went with her husband to drop her car off for repairs.

The Abaroas met with a church member at their home that evening before Raven Abaroa left the house around 8:30 p.m. in a gray Dodge Durango to play in an indoor soccer game in Morrisville.

Raven Abaroa told officers he found his wife when he returned home from the game around 11 p.m.

There were no obvious signs of a break-in, but a laptop computer was missing from the couple's house.

Raven Abaroa moved away after his wife's death and remarried. His second wife later went public after the two separated and told ABC News in an interview that he may have been involved in the murder.

Court documents say prosecutors want access to Janet's remains for four reasons. They want fingerprints, casts of her hands, marks made on her skeleton by the murder weapon, and they want to know if there are contact lenses in her eyes.

Janet's family has said she always took the lenses out before she went to bed. Raven allegedly told investigators Janet was in bed before she left the house.

Prosecutors say no fingerprints were taken from Janet at her autopsy, so they can't compare them with fingerprints taken from the crime scene.

Raven Abaroa's attorney Amos Tyndall said in court papers that his client objects to the exhumation "to conduct experiments that have no scientific validity, will be performed without a specific or established protocol, and are designed to support conclusions the analysts have already reached about the case."

Raven Abaroa did not attend Friday's hearing. He is currently in the Durham County jail under a $5 million bond.

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