Family of slain woman says enough is enough

Janet and Raven Abaroa (Photo Courtesy ABC News)
March 8, 2012 3:42:46 PM PST
The wheels of justice are known to turn slowly, but the family of a murdered Durham woman told ABC11 Thursday that "enough is enough."

Nearly seven years have passed since Janet Abaroa was stabbed to death. Her husband was later charged with the crime.

There's still no trial date.

Now, Janet's family is blaming the scandals that have rocked the Durham County DA's office in recent years for the delay.

In an interview with ABC11 Thursday, they said they've been promised there will be a trial sometime this summer. But it's a promise Tracey Cline made them before she was removed from office last week. Now they say they hope the interim DA will keep Cline's promise.

"It's just been a long drawn out process," said family spokesperson Tim Dowd.

Janet was pregnant when she was stabbed to death in her home in 2005. Her baby son was asleep in his crib. Her husband Raven told investigators he was away at a soccer game when it happened.

It took prosecutors five years to charge Raven Abaroa. Two years since his arrest, there's no official trial date on the court calendar.

"It's just been seven years. Much of this delay, we believe, has been caused by the turmoil in the DA's office.

Dowd said the Duke Lacrosse case and a distracted former DA in Mike Nifong initially overshadowed Janet's case.

"Mr. Nifong ended up being prosecuted for prosecutorial misconduct and that whole process probably took two years out of our case. From our view, everything just seemed to stop - the collaboration between the police and the DA," said Dowd.

And now the family worries there will be even more waiting since Nifong's successor Cline was just recently tossed from office.

"She [Cline] promised us that our case was going to move forward and that it would not be dismissed and that the case would go to trial," said Dowd.

That was last year. On Wednesday, a hearing in Abaroa's case was postponed until April. Still, prosecutors have said the case could still go to trial as early as this July.

But Janet's family is not confident.

"I think the citizens of Durham need to understand there's something going on there. We need to make sure that cases that need to be tried - that process needs to move forward however way," said Dowd.

Raven Abaroa remains in jail under a $3million bond.

Since his arrest, Abaroa's attorney told ABC11 there's been a consistent assistant DA on the case. We've also learned that the DA's office has added a second prosecutor to the case as well.

Our calls to the DA's office weren't returned.

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