'20/20' PRESENTS TWO-HOUR DOCUMENTARY ON MAN WHO WAS CONVICTED OF KILLING HIS PREGNANT WIFE AND WAS RECENTLY SET FREE AFTER SPENDING LESS THAN EIGHT YEARS BEHIND BARS
'20/20' Features Footage From ABC News Archives, Including Interview With Ex-Wife From Second Marriage Who Says She Was Lucky to Get Away
'20/20' Airs Friday, March 29 (9:00 - 11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC
Raven Abaroa, a man who was charged and convicted of killing his pregnant wife, Janet Abaroa, in their North Carolina home, was recently set free from prison after serving less than eight years behind bars. A two-hour "20/20" documentary dives into the new details surrounding Janet's 2005 death, Raven's trial, hung jury and plea deal, the reactions of Janet's family and friends, and the impact that the original 2009 "20/20" report had on the case. The special also features ABC News anchor John Qui�ones' interview with Vanessa Pond, Raven's ex-wife from his second marriage, from the ABC News archives, during which she says that Raven became physically violent during their marriage and she was lucky to get away from him. "20/20" airs Friday, March 29 (9:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC.
"20/20" features interviews with Randy and Jordean Pond, Vanessa's parents; Dena Kendall, Erika Blakey, Valanie Soria, Krista Christiansen, Sonja Flood and Consuelo Christiansen, Janet's sisters; Charles Sole, detective on the case; Tim Dowd, former neighbor of Janet and Raven; and Cathy Cheek, Janet's former colleague and close friend.
Not long after Janet was found stabbed to death, Raven relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah, with their son. Vanessa, a single mom to a young daughter, met Raven at their children's school and the two later married. Vanessa claims that once they were married, Raven's demeanor changed, and within moments he would go from expressing extreme anger to apologizing for his actions. Vanessa says that eventually his outbursts became physical, and he told her family and friends that she was depressed and bipolar, which she thought was an attempt to make her appear suicidal. Even Janet's six sisters, upon discovering that Raven was remarried, sought out Vanessa in order to warn her about Raven whom they believed was dangerous. Vanessa and Raven eventually separated, and Raven denies that he was physically abusive to Vanessa.
Raven was arrested and charged with Janet's murder in early 2010. But before the trial began, Janet's family allowed prosecutors to exhume her body in order to try and find new evidence they hoped would confirm something captured in a crime scene photo. Trial witnesses included women who were romantically involved with Raven while he was married to Janet, as well as Vanessa. Due to a hung jury, a mistrial was declared. Just as the new trial was about to begin in spring 2014, Raven entered into an Alford plea to a charge of voluntary manslaughter, asserting his innocence while acknowledging there is sufficient evidence to convict him. Raven was released from prison in December 2017.
The documentary on Raven Abaroa is part of "20/20" two-hour documentary programming featuring brand-new interviews with key players in some of the biggest newsmaker stories in recent American history. The original eight-week two-hour programming lineup has been extended to 15 weeks and will run through April 12. Since the two-hour documentaries premiered on Jan. 4, "20/20" has been Friday's No. 1 newsmagazine each week in all key demos: Total Viewers, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54.
"20/20" is anchored by David Muir and Amy Robach. David Sloan is senior executive producer.