Abaroa testimony focuses on emails between victim and former boyfriend

jporter@newsobserver.comMay 21, 2013 

— Jurors in the Raven Abaroa murder trial heard Tuesday about email correspondence that Janet Abaroa had with a former boyfriend in the weeks leading up to her stabbing death. The emails were on a work computer hard drive discovered last week and examined by a digital forensics expert hired by Raven Abaroa’s defense attorneys.

Jason McCullough carved emails and email fragments from Janet Abaroa’s Martin Marietta computer hard drive, revealing several flirtatious exchanges between Janet and Scott Hall beginning on March 31, 2005 and ending April 7, just three weeks before she was killed.

In an April 6 email, Janet wrote to Hall, “It is really nice outside, I’m wearing a really cute shirt and skirt with no underwear and so far my day sucks!”

The next day, she wrote, “okay I’ll admit it, I like hearing from you, in fact my day is a lot better for those few seconds that it takes me to read your emails.”

Defense attorney Amos Tyndall said that these emails show that Janet was independent and strong-willed, unlike the picture painted of her as meek and submissive to Raven by former witnesses.

Raven Abaroa is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his pregnant wife at their Ferrand Drive home. He says he is innocent and that he found her body in upstairs room upon returning to their house from a soccer game in Orange County on April 26, 2005.

“I would have recommended getting a preservation order for (Janet’s) Yahoo email address, and one for the Martin Marietta email she used,” McCullough responded to defense attorney Mani Dexter’s question about whether he could have collected more evidence if he had been given the hard drive in 2005. “I would have been able to review potentially all emails (Janet) had ever received or sent.”

McCullough also examined two CD copies that Janet’s sister, Sonja Flood, made of Raven’s hard drive, which she found with his belongings when he stayed in her home after Janet’s murder. McCullough said he could tell from the CDs that a website where Raven and Janet posted family photos was updated with four pictures of their baby Kaiden, with Raven, on the day before Janet’s death.

Jurors also heard Tuesday from a neighbor who has previously testified and from a teammate who played soccer with Raven the night before Janet’s death.

The Abaroas’ neighbor, Leo Farmer, said he was working in his garden until dusk the night of Janet’s murder and did not hear or see anything unusual.

Jason Small testified that Raven was already warming up on the soccer field when Small arrived for a game that started at 9 p.m. April 26, 2005.

Porter: 919-593-7884

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