Jury begins deliberations in Abaroa murder case


Prosecutors told a Durham jury Wednesday that all roads point to the husband in the 2005 murder of young mother Janet Abaroa.

Jurors heard closing arguments from both sides in the trial of 33-year-old Raven Abaroa, who's accused of stabbing a pregnant Janet to death while their 6-month-old son was in a nearby room.

In all, four attorneys spoke. One of Abaroa's lawyers spent nearly an hour trying to convince jurors that the state failed to connect him to the killing. Mani Dexter said DNA from Janet and someone else was detected at the bloody scene, but it was not Raven's.

In her words, Raven was completely open with investigators and "spilled his guts" about his infidelity, financial problems, and tension in the marriage.

She said the state kept key evidence - a computer hard drive from Janet's work computer - stored in a police locker for eight years out of sight until the closing days of the trial.

Fellow defense attorney Amos Tyndall said emails recovered from the drive showed Raven was not the controlling husband that prosecutors were trying to paint.

"None of us would have guessed what was on that hard drive. The second thing it symbolizes is the state's willingness to capitalize on information we don't have," he offered.

Prosecutors attacked Abaroa's alibi that he was at a soccer game when Janet was murdered. They also scoffed at the idea he was completely cooperative with detectives - playing a video in which he appears to mock them.

"He had plenty of time to kill. He had plenty of time to clean up," said prosecutor Charlene Coggins Franks.

"The evidence is clear that no witness could think of any reason why someone would want to do this to Janet," prosecutor Luke Bumm told jurors.

Prosecutors say Abaroa wanted out of his marriage and listed money as a motive. They said the couple was struggling financially.

"He's not used to having to struggle for money," offered Franks.

Franks said Abaroa stood to collect life insurance money and both of the family's cars would be paid off by insurance because they were in Janet's name.

The jury has gone home for the night and will return Thursday morning to continue deliberations.

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