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Juror in Abaroa case speaks out as attorneys head back to court

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RALEIGH -- Attorneys in the Raven Abaroa trial are scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss a retrial date, but a plea deal in the works could change that.

It comes after an 11-1 deadlock in favor of a guilty verdict led to a mistrial last week.

Abaroa is accused of stabbing his pregnant wife to death in their Durham home back in 2005.

Attorneys from both sides met at a hearing on Wednesday to discuss whether or not Abaroa would be present at Thursday's hearing.

Defense Attorney Mani Dexter said they did not want to bring Abaroa to court because of intense media scrutiny surrounding the case and that video of him in shackles would not present him in a favorable light.

But the judge ruled in favor of the state and Abaroa will be present at Thursday's hearings.

News 14 Carolina has learned that the state could offer a plea deal, but Dexter could not comment on it. Asst. District Attorney Charlene Coggins-Franks did not return calls when contacted.

Meanwhile, a juror says he was angry they could not get out of the 11 to 1 deadlock in favor of a guilty verdict.

Alphonso Hayes was juror number one in the five week trial.

“He was a very deceitful person. He was not trustworthy so I say he did it,” Hayes said.

Hayes says he and others found Abaroa guilty based on the prosecution's presentation of circumstantial evidence but could not convince juror 11 to change his mind.

“We feel like his pattern of doing things, he will do it again. He's not a safe person to be around,” Hayes explained.

During the first day of deliberations, the jury was 9 to 3.

On the second day, two of the people who initially thought Abaroa was not guilty changed their minds but juror 11, the jury foreman, was not convinced.

“All of our evidence pointed to guilty, and he basically felt the same way except he said there's an off chance that he may not be guilty, outside chance, and he was hanging with that,” Hayes said.

Hayes says he and the jurors continued to reexamine the case, but there was nothing they could do to change juror 11's mind.

“He was sticking with what he said he'd rather see a guilty man go free than a person who's not guilty put in prison,” Hayes said.

Friday afternoon, the judge declared a mistrial.

“We were angry, we could have saved his life and somebody else's life by finding him guilty,” Hayes said.

Hayes said he did not feel the defense's witness were credible and that weighed heavily in his decision.

If convicted, Raven Abaroa could face a life sentence without parole.

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