State rests its case in Janet Abaroa murder trial

jporter@newsobserver.comMay 20, 2013 

— The state rested its case against Raven Abaroa Monday afternoon, after Superior Court judge Orlando Hudson denied a motion filed by Abaroa’s defense attorneys to dismiss the case based on new evidence found on Abaroa’s murdered wife’s work computer that they said discredits the testimony of the state’s witnesses thus far.

Defense attorney Amos Tyndall said emails between Janet Abaroa and an ex-boyfriend exchanged just weeks before she was fatally stabbed at her Ferrand Drive home show that Janet Abaroa was independent and had a will of her own.

“The emails directly conflict with the dishonest image the state’s witnesses presented of Mr. and Ms. Abaroa’s personalities and their relationship,” the motion states, and therefore would exonerate Rave Abaroa “because the messages contradict the notion, as presented by the state’s witnesses, that Ms. Abaroa was terrified of Mr. Abaroa and was subservient to him …”

The motion also charges that the state never disclosed the information contained in the emails and it was unknown to the defense until an expert they hired retrieved it from Janet Abaroa’s hard drive, which had been stored in a locked file cabinet at the Durham Police Department until it was discovered last week.

Abaroa, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his pregnant wife. He says he is innocent and found her body in a second floor room of the couple’s home upon returning from a soccer game in Orange County.

Excerpts from email messages between Janet Abaroa and Scott Hall contained in the motion date from the end of March 2005 through the first week of April, just three weeks before she was killed.

In the excerpts, Janet Abaroa and Hall discuss meeting up secretly in Norfolk and Richmond, Va., Hall’s disappointment over their breakup and his jealousy of Raven. Her emails to Hall are flirtatious and mildly sexual, and she writes that she “was still in love with” Hall after she met and began a physical relationship with Raven in college.

In an email dated April 6, 2005, Janet Abaroa wrote, “I doubt I could make it to Norfolk (sic) I don’t really have a reason to tell Raven that I’m going (sic) I have a friend in Richmond so it would be no big deal about me going there.”

In an email to Hall the next day, she wrote, “Raven knows that we talk and that we have hung out. Last time I saw you … he was out in utah (sic) coming home the next day. He was convinced I was cheating on him with you that night cause I did not get home until 4:00am and then I had to pick him up at 6:30 that morning.”

After being denied a second motion to dismiss the case and a motion to declare a mistrial Monday afternoon, the defense is expected to present evidence on behalf of Raven Abaroa beginning Tuesday morning.

Porter: 919-593-7884

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