Defense rests in Abaroa’s murder trial

jporter@newsobserver.comMay 24, 2013 

— The defense for Raven Abaroa rested its case Friday after jurors heard from Abaroa’s mother and stepfather and saw several photos of Abaroa’s son, Kaiden.

Jim and Karyn Bolton have been raising Kaiden since Abaroa was arrested in February 2010. They described Kaiden as a smart and active little boy who loves his father. Raven Abaroa, who had been raising his son after his wife’s slaying, teared up while listening to testimony about Kaiden.

Abaroa, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his pregnant wife, Janet Abaroa, in 2005. Abaroa claims he found her body in an upstairs room at their home on Ferrand Drive upon returning from a soccer game in Orange County.

Kaiden “is a good speller; he’s participating in all kinds of activities at school,” Jim Bolton said. “He’s the lead in a play at school. He’s involved in a lot of after-school things like dancing and art classes.”

He said also that Kaiden was doing well in 2010 when he came to live at the Boltons’ home after Raven Abaroa’s arrest.

Karyn Bolton told jurors that Kaiden made a note for Raven Abaroa that said, “I thought of 10 stuff why I love you,” and that he asked her to give the note to his dad; as his reasons, Kaiden apparently wrote, “because me and you are a family and mommy to (sic),” “because you take care of me and look out for me” and “because you can tell me what momy (sic) was like.”

Karyn Bolton also testified about some of the problems Raven and Janet Abaroa had in their marriage. She said she became aware of Raven Abaroa’s infidelity when Janet Abaroa called to tell her about it.

Janet Abaroa “said she was so mad at Raven and was calling because she knew I would understand,” Karyn Bolton said. “And I said, ‘Dump him; he’s not good enough for you.’ She was shocked. … And she kind of hesitated and said, ‘I don’t want to go there.’ ”

She said she admired Janet Abaroa for her courage in staying in the marriage after her husband’s infidelities.

She also said she was “very angry” when Raven Abaroa told her he had embezzled money from the company he worked for. She denied being involved with the incident, though Raven Abaroa apparently sent packages to his home in her name in December 2004.

She said she knew the couple was having financial problems after Raven Abaroa was fired following the embezzlement from his company, but she thought they were reworking their finances in order to live within their means.

“I thought that was good of him to do that to bring down their bills,” Bolton said.

Bolton said she did not think Raven Abaroa told his wife that he didn’t want to stay with her when she found out she was pregnant with Kaiden because he “loves children.” She said that Janet Abaroa probably told her father before she married Raven Abaroa that he had gone on a two-year mission for the Mormon church, when in fact he had not.

Prosecutors will bring in witnesses for rebuttals starting Tuesday.

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