Women testify about Abaroa's behavior
Janet Abaroa said her husband had started “getting weird” and she was scared of him, according to a friend of the Abaroas' who testified Tuesday in Raven Abaroa's first-degree murder trial.
Raven Abaroa, 33, is standing trial for allegedly stabbing Janet Abaroa, to death at their home on Ferrand Drive in Durham on April 26, 2005.
Meghan Councill, whose family "adopted" the Abaroas when they lived in Smithfield, Va., testified that she saw Janet Abaroa when she came home from college for the holiday break in late 2004 and early 2005. The Abaroas were visiting her parents’ home with their new baby.
Councill recalled one moment when she was alone with Janet and the baby. Councill said she asked Janet Abaroa about a previous conversation in which Janet had told her she was trying to figure how to get Raven to see a therapist.
In that conversation, Janet Abaroa said her husband had huge mood swings. He would wake up one day and be in a good mood and wake up the next day and be mean. Janet told her that she thought her husband had a "loose screw" and might be bi-polar and need medication.
Councill testified she asked Janet if she had been able to get her husband to see a therapist.
"He refused to go," Councill said. "He said he didn't have a problem and was not going to see a therapist. She told me things were getting weird; that Raven was making her nervous. She was scared of him."
Before Councill had a chance to ask Janet why she was scared, Raven Abaroa walked into the room and asked what they were doing.
"She just bowed her head and looked like a scared animal," Councill said.
Councill testified that during the same holiday visit, she was in the den with Raven when he asked her to sit on his lap and look at something on his computer.
"I looked at him like he was crazy," Councill said.
Later on Tuesday, a woman who said she was friends with both Abaroas, testified she went to their Charlotte apartment in the middle of the day in 2003 to talk to Raven about something that had upset her at work. While she was there, he asked her to sit on his lap and look at something on his computer. When she did, he showed her a sex tape of him and Janet, she said.
At that moment, Janet Abaroa walked into the apartment, and Raven Abaroa told the woman to quickly hide in a closet. The woman testified she hid for about 10 minutes until Janet left and then quickly left the apartment.
Another woman testified that she got to know Raven Abaroa at Eurosport and they began seeing each other while Raven and Janet were separated.
The woman said she lived in an apartment in Burlington, and when Raven Abaroa left his wife, he moved into an apartment nearby and they became more deeply involved. Their relationship ended when Raven Abaroa told her Janet was pregnant and they were going to try to make their marriage work.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Amos Tyndall, the woman testified when she and Raven Abaroa split up, he told her that he wanted to have the baby and after the baby was born, she saw pictures of the baby on a website where Raven posted photographs of the baby and Janet.
Earlier in the day, Cathy Cheek, who worked with Janet Abaroa at Eurosport, testified that Janet Abaroa told her that she and Raven had separated.
One day, Janet complained about pain, and said she was worried about a possible tubal pregnancy. Cheek encouraged Janet to go to the doctor, and when Janet returned, she was crying and said she was pregnant.
"She cried that … Raven wasn't going to be happy that she was pregnant because Raven didn't want her to have a baby at that time," Cheek testified.
Raven Abaroa seemed to get angry if Janet talked to her, and sometimes Janet used a pay phone to call so Raven wouldn't see the number on the cell phone, Cheek said.
"I never understood why he would be mad if we talked," Cheek said. "I was just a friend."
The trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday in the Durham County Courthouse at 9:30 a.m.