Local/State

Coworker tells of sexual encounter with Abaroa

Monday, May 13, 2013

A former coworker of Raven Abaroa's testified Monday that he pressured her into sex while on a trip to Charlotte.

Abaroa, 33, is charged in his pregnant wife Janet's April 2005 stabbing death. He allegedly told police he didn't kill Janet, and found the 25 year old in their Durham home on Ferrand Drive after returning from a soccer game. The couple's 6-month-old son was in the house at the time of the murder, but was not harmed.

Prosecutors say the couple was having money problems and Abaroa had a history of cheating on his wife and wanted out of the marriage.

On the witness stand Monday, Anabel Haviza said she worked with Abaroa at a sporting goods business in late 2003 - the summer after she graduated from high school. She described him as "a charmer" and "very flirtatious."

Haviza said she was just 17 at the time and very na´ve about Abaroa's advances. She said they developed a friendship and went out for meals.

She testified that Abaroa told her that he hid his relationships with other women by changing the SIM card in his cell phone so that Janet would not find text messages or phone call records.

Haviza said the relationship was not physical and she "had felt very safe" around Abaroa until they took a trip together to Charlotte. She said Abaroa's advances became much more physical and she felt so scared she agreed to have sex with him in the parking lot of a rest area.

"I just felt very uncomfortable. I just felt very unsafe," said Haviza.

Haviza testified she was so nervous about what was happening that she began running her hands through her hair in the vehicle in an attempt to leave her DNA behind if something happened to her.

After the encounter, she said she and Abaroa did not speak again.

Aboroa's second wife - who he married after Janet's death - also testified Monday.

Vanessa Pond recounted two incidents in which she said Abaroa became violent during the time that she knew him. She spoke of an incident where he stomped on an opponent during a soccer game with his cleats and laughed about it afterwards saying: "Now that's retribution." She said the incident drew a warning from a referee.

Pond also said Abaroa got physical with her during an argument the day of her bridal shower. She said he called her "horrible" things and trapped her in a walk-in closet so she couldn't leave. She said he started screaming at her and poked her hard enough in the chest repeatedly so that she was left bruised.

Abaroa's defense team has tried to poke holes in the case against him, saying detectives focused on him from the beginning and ignored important evidence.

It has also said testimony from some witnesses who spoke of his flirtatious behavior is not relevant and amounts to character assassination.

The trial is expected to last another two weeks.

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durham county, homicide, janet abaroa, local/state
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