Abaroa's second wife testifies about murder suspect's temper

jporter@newsobserver.comMay 13, 2013 

— Raven Abaroa’s second wife took the stand in his murder trial Monday, recalling how Abaroa threatened to hit her the night of her bridal shower.

“He backed me into a corner of the bedroom and he was poking me hard in the chest,” Vanessa Pond testified. “He told me how much he hated me, how much he didn’t care if I died … how much he wanted to hit me.”

“He came over to me and swung his hand back,” she continued. “He stopped right before he hit my face and laughed at me for flinching.”

Pond said she had reservations about marrying Abaroa, but said she loved him. After Abaroa told her early in their relationship that his first wife, Janet, had been murdered, she researched the case online and said she was in constant contact with Durham police.

Pond described a sit-down with her parents, where they asked Abaroa “point-blank” if he had anything to do with Janet’s murder.

“His response was ‘I loved my wife,’ and he danced around the question and ended up changing the subject,” she testified.

Abaroa, 33, is charged with first-degree murder. He says he found Janet’s body in an upstairs room at the couple’s home on Ferrand Drive upon returning from a soccer game in Orange County.

Pond married Abaroa in September 2008 in Utah, where he had gone to live after Janet’s death so relatives could help him raise their son, Kaiden.

Abaroa also told her about a child he’d had with another woman after moving back to Utah.

“He said Janet came to him in a dream and told him that this girl was the right one and that it was time to move forward,” Pond testified. “And so he impregnated her and they had a baby shortly after, and the baby was given up for adoption.”

Abaroa’s defense attorney Mani Dexter said Abaroa had wanted to keep that child.

“Did you know he tried to marry the mother, have a life with her?” Dexter asked Pond.

Pond said she didn’t recall.

Jurors also heard Monday from another woman with whom Abaroa had sex in the fall of 2003 while he was married to Janet.

Anabel Haviza first met Abaroa while working at Eurosport in Hillsborough during her senior year of high school. She took a road trip with him from her college town of Greensboro to Charlotte one night after Abaroa called to say he was in town.

On the drive back to Greensboro, Abaroa began to make advances.

“I finally realized, I’m going to need to follow through, I feel unsafe now and something is happening,” Haviza said.

“We pulled off, eventually we ended up having sex,” she continued. Haviza said she ran her fingers through her hair when she got back in Abaroa’s car.

“I started this nervous movement, saying (to herself) ... I’ll leave my hair here, so my DNA will be here if something happens to me.”

This was the last contact Haviza had with Abaroa.

The trial continues Tuesday in Durham County Superior Court.

Porter: 919-593-7884

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