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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  May 21, 2022 2:00am-3:00am PDT

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i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> this is dateline. >> the wedding was beautiful. >> i thought it was a love of my life. i wanted them to find the real killer. i want it all of this to be behind us and go on, happily ever after. >> single mom meets single dad, and in a single moment, it was love. >> he was very handsome. >> he was fun. >> all smiles, very outgoing, charming. >> everything he did melted my heart. >> but there was something else about this dreamy, single dad.
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something about his past. something deadly. >> i just came in the house, i saw janet on the floor. >> she was crying, he was in shock. his >> whole life was shattered. >> he said, i should probably let you know, my wife was actually murdered. >> killed in a crime that had never been solved. >> she was almost the perfect victim. >> and what about him? he'd become the focus, in his first wife's mysterious death. was he a victim too? >> i'm a father, i have a family, i didn't kill janet. >> i felt horrible for him. >> you don't want to believe? it >> no. who would want to believe that? ♪ ♪ ♪ >> hello, welcome to dateline. vanessa pond was a single parent looking for a second chance at love, and in raven
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abaroa, she thought she found her soulmate. the pair started dating, then came a chilling admission. raven told vanessa that he was carrying some heavy baggage. more than 2000 miles away, he was a suspect in his wife's unsolved murder. still, vanessa clung to the dream that they could live happily ever after. here's josh mankiewicz with deadly denial. >> she'd found plenty of the wrong guys. now, here in front of her, someone different. >> we met a did dairy care were both of our children went to daycare. >> vanessa pond of salt lake city was 25 and a single parent. back in 2007, she met raven abaroa. like vanessa, he was single, and raising a child alone. >> he was very charming. he would always come up with such fascinating dates.
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>> he seemed different? >> he seemed very different. >> a good guy. >> a very good guy. >> and you fall form? >> hard. >> along with the charm, and the lavish states, raven also had a story. a horrible, awful story that had changed his life, and would change vanessa ponds. the story raven told wasn't just about himself, it was about his first wife, janet. >> he said, i should probably let you know that my wife was actually murdered. >> the murder, raven said, happened three years earlier, when he and janet were living in durham, north carolina. >> it happened in a home invasion. he came home and found her and he didn't want to talk about any further. >> it was not the kind of thing that venus expected to hear from the man who had just story her heart. >> i was beside myself. >> vanessa retreated to her laptop and began searching online, looking for exactly the
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details. -- >> -- the homicide, vanessa learned occurred in april of 2005. raven had just come home from playing at a nighttime soccer game, when he found his wife on the floor of their tiny second for office. janet had been stabbed three times. raven talked to us about that dreadful discovery. >> when i initially looked at her, i'm talking to her, like hey, janet, what is wrong? and then it clicks on me that she -- her eyes are open looking at me but she is not blinking her eyes. something was terribly wrong. >> my wife, she's dead! >> okay. you're gonna have to calm down, what's the address? >> for janet's parents, val and janet it was the worst day of their lives. >> i picked up the phone and there is raven screaming into the phone. she's gone.
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that's what he was saying, she's gone. >> of course, i can't breathe. i thought for sure i was gonna have a heart attack. >> they've raced to durham, n. c, to be by rave inside. >> we immediately broke down into bawling tears. i remember putting my arms around him and saying that we will get through this together. >> everyone was left to wonder, why janet? a woman as gentle as she was pretty. >> she is extremely loyal i guess is the word, with all of her friends, when she has close friends she's really good to them, she's really good to me. >> she always wanted everybody to be happy. >> very supportive of people, love to help other people. >> that came in handy growing up in a mormon household with no fewer than nine siblings. >> she was a peacemaker. >> she didn't like
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confrontation? >> absolutely not. >> in college janet excelled, in the classroom, and especially on the soccer field. but from a very early age, janet had her sights set on something more. >> her goal in life was to be married and have children and be a mom. having a very, well, a perfect home. >> enter her college sweetheart, raven abaroa. >> with her, you know, i want to say that i knew right away, her not started talking about long term relationships three weeks into being together. >> she was janet's best friend in college. >> he was very handsome, and i said all the time, you are the all american couple. >> it was a foregone conclusion that the young couple was destined for marriage. it rained the night of the wedding, but no one seemed to care. and then the perfect all american couple completed the perfect picture, well coming into their world a son, caden.
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>> she said this is so phenomenal. >> she loved, she absolutely loved being a mother. >> but just six months later, that perfect picture went dark. janet was discovered lying in a pool of her own blood. >> was there anyone who disliked her? >> not that i know of. >> she was a good person. >> three years later in salt lake city, the news of janet homicide was also shocking to vanessa pond. vanessa had learned the killing had never been solved. she wanted more details from raven. about his terrible loss. >> we sat down, had a conversation, i had my questions right now and -- so, we addressed every single one. >> how long did that take? >> we took an entire evening just to go over everything. >> when the evening was over, vanessa was convinced that the horrific crime, back in 2005, had claimed two victims.
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one of course was janet, but the other was raven. >> i felt so, so sorry for him. i couldn't imagine, possibly, going through that. >> coming up -- why had this killing never been solved? we delve into the clues. a bloody shoe print, mystery dna, and a coin in the yard. when dateline continues. alice loves the scent of gain so much, she wished there was a way to make it last longer. say hello to your fairy godmother alice and long lasting gain scent beads. try spring daydream,
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raven abaroa's first wife had been killed did not scare off vanessa pond. she was in love with him and committed to helping raven get beyond both, the heartbreaking loss of janet and the homicide investigation. >> i wanted to -- i wanted them to find the killer. i wanted all of this to be behind us. >> but, vanessa knew that wouldn't be easy. the past seem to haunt raven as he shared with vanessa just how much janet had meant to him. >> he laid, kind of, in a fetal position next to me, and then, he just started talking about how mad he was after janet died.
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>> he said, i love my wife. >> i loved my wife. >> for everyone who loved janet, the days following the homicide back in 2005 were agonizing. raven said, he found himself asking the same question over and over again. >> why we could have this beautiful child, this beautiful relationship, and then to have her die. >> a friend of both janet and raven attended janet's memorial service. >> he looked crushed. he was trying to hold up. >> soon, attention turned to finding her killer. >> we didn't know exactly what happened, all we could think is that somebody broke into the house for what reason, did expect there, and killed her.
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>> charles sole, now retired, was a cop with the durham police department in 2005, when he was called to the scene of the homicide. >> it was a two story family resident. >> nice part of town? >> it was quiet, for sure. >> first responders found janet lying on the floor of the office. >> she was on her back, her shirt was raised up, exposing the wound to the center of her chest. >> janet also had a stab wound to her hand, suggesting that she tried to protect yourself. the fatal wound was to her neck, and the weapon was nowhere in sight. >> it was literally no disturbance on the desk. >> suggesting it was not in violence trouble. >> no, not at all. which was kind of odd, based on being a stabbing. >> crime scene investigators began the task of swab-ing the entire house. it was no surprise that most of the blood and fingerprints tested came back is either raven or janet's.
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there was some things that tax had a hard time explaining. the first was a fingerprint found on the upstairs office closet door, not far from jenna's body. that print didn't come back? anybody >> know. >> then, there was a shoe print left in blood, next to janet. >> could you tell anything about this bloody footprint? >> it was right by janet, but nothing definitive about the type of shoe, the make, or anything. >> finally, analysts found unidentified dna mixed with janet's blood on a door leading to the side entrance. none of that forensic evidence could be traced to raven, janet or anyone connected to the investigation. >> those are things, as an investigator, you absolutely want to try to figure out. >> technicians process the house, detectives began interviewing raven, hoping he could help point in the direction of the killer. >> raven was visibly crying, he looked like he was distraught
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and upset. he, himself, said he had new enemy. >> he realizes some items from the house were missing. >> they asked me, where was the last time you had the computer? >> this would've been later that night, or the next. day >> it was later that night. the initial meeting with them. >> his computer was gone, robbery? it was possible. >> he also talked about some knives been missing. >> but they're a lot of burglaries in the neighborhood? >> yes. >> lisa c lee was one of the neighbors, who had been burglarized. >> your car was broken into, right? >> yes. it was unlocked, someone went into it and took us some
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change. >> a seemingly petty, relatively insignificant theft, until the canine dog was called to search the grounds of the admiral home, where janet had been killed. when the dog got to the front of the house, it stopped, unexpectedly. >> it was in that proximity without bottle is. the dog made the alert, that there was something in that area. >> amongst the weeds, the dog had found a coin. >> one of the neighbors found the -- and some change had been stolen. >> you are correct. >> i guess, at least one theory this coin was for that. >> it certainly could've been. >> a homicide, a burglary down the road and a coin that could link the two. detectives needed to find out more about that coin. >> coming up -- secrets from the past revealed. >> you never knew when the coin would flip and all of a sudden, everything that was wrong with the world -- >> when dateline continues. alexa, ask buick to start my enclave. starting your buick enclave. i just love our new alexa. dad, it's a buick. i love that new alexa smell. it's a buick. we need snacks for the team. alexa, take us to the nearest grocery store. getting directions.
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here's candice... who works from home, and then works from home. but she can handle pickup, even when her bladder makes a little drop-off. because candice has poise, poise under pressure and poise in her pants. it takes poise. >> the theory that janet was
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dead may have been collateral damage from a burglary gone bad was not getting traction. generally, were you -- they run away? >> that's correct, there was no rummaging. the jurors weren't gone through, no ransacking that you would see an outbreak in. it just didn't add up. >> as for the coin found in front of the home, the police dog was unable to track assent from it, back to the house or anywhere else. detectives were having a hard time finding a link between the burglary down the road and janet's killing. the next step was the obvious one, the text of took a look at
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janet's husband, raven. it's pretty common to look at the spouse in situations like this. >> that is correct. , you know, that's part of the process. >> according to raven, the day of the murder was like any other for the abaroas. he >> told investigators not a member of rioters had come to their house. >> he loved janet and his son at home, to go play in a nighttime soccer game about half an hour away. jason small was one of ravens teammates. >> business as usual. bunch of guys playing soccer together, trying to be on the team, nothing out of the ordinary, he seemed normal to you that night. >> after the game, brave and told police he drove to a gas station to grab a sports drink. >> are you doing? >> just to be sure, detectives checked the station security
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and there was raven. ravens that he then headed home to find kaiden undisturbed in his crib but janet, lying in a pool of blood. >> my wife, she's dead! >> okay, you're gonna have to calm down, okay? what's the address? >> the tactics also talk to ravens family and friends, he was outgoing, friendly, charming, and broke. >> they don't have any money, they can't rub two nickels together. >> money, or the lack of, it could've been behind something that happened five months earlier, raven had been caught stealing sporting equipment from his employer, and reselling it on ebay. ravens mother, karen, was stunned. >> i just couldn't believe it, how could you be so stupid? but at least he admitted it, he didn't try to get out of it. i was proud of him for that. >> for owning up? >> for owning up. >> along with the young couples financial stress, friends told
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detectives raven and janet had also had a brush with infidelity. according to janet's friend, brittany, within just months of the wedding, raven had cheated on janet. how did she sound when that happened? >> devastated. >> and then she went back with him after that? >> she forgave him. she made promises to love him for good, for bad, for ugly and to support him. >> but brittani notice other problems in the marriage. janet, she says, was struggling with what appeared to be ravens increasingly dramatic mood swings. >> she told me that sometimes things were like perfect and it was like holding your breath because you never knew when the coin would flip and all of a sudden everything that was wrong in the world was her fault. >> things got so bad that a year before the homicide, janet and raven briefly separated. by itself, a marriage on the
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rocks did not mean raven wasn't anyway responsible for janet's death. despite police suspicion, many refused to believe raven could or would kill janet. including janet's own parents. when you heard the police thought raven was a suspect, what did you think? >> i defended him. >> you stuck up for him? >> i couldn't bear the fact that someone whom i intrusted my child's life with would turn on her like that. i could not go there. >> neither could raven and janet's friend misty. >> raven could not have killed janet, he loved her. he loved her. he would've done that. >> detectives had an equally difficult time convincing the district attorney who after reviewing the evidence felt there wasn't nearly enough to get an indictment. >> they are the ones that make the decision, why they didn't
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do it, i don't know. >> with no other strong leads, the investigation into janet on the side began to cool. raven had relocated to utah to be closer to his family. which is where, two years later, he met vanessa pond. >> he wanted to move things very, very, very quickly. >> with you? >> yes. >> despite all the things vanessa had learned about raven, she stood by him. in part because raven was really upfront about how police were investigating him. >> he said that they didn't have anybody else to look at which is why he was the only person of interest. >> wait a minute, you find out that a guy you are going out with was a suspect in a murder, still a suspect in a murder -- >> yeah? >> and he gets another date? >> he talked me into that. everything he did just melted my hard because i felt, i felt so bad for him. >> and that's how vanessa
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decided raven, the person of interest, remain the only person she was interested in spending the rest of her life with. after a four month long courtship, raven proposed and vanessa's head because. both before vanessa walked down the aisle she sought foot council of her father randy. randi pond wasn't just her father, he was also a retired cop with 23 years on the force. randi decided he needed a man to man with raven. >> he came in and he was all smiles and very, very fun to be around, very talkative, outgoing. >> you and your wife taught good? >> oh yes, i was very impressed with raven. >> so impressed randy gave the two his blessing. >> how is the wedding? >> the wedding was beautiful. it was great. >> and you thought, what's, we're gonna be okay? >> absolutely.
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>> coming up -- >> you think, at last, justice. >> yes. >> and arrest in the case when dateline continues. with less asthma? with dupixent, i can du more.. catching my train... making moves... ♪♪ making a connection... a train connection. that's how you du more with dupixent, which helps prevent asthma attacks. dupixent is not for sudden breathing problems. it's an add-on-treatment for specific types of moderate-to-severe asthma that can improve lung function for better breathing in as little as two weeks. and can reduce, or even eliminate, oral steroids. and here's something important. dupixent can cause allergic reactions that can be severe. get help right away if you have rash, chest pain, worsening shortness of breath, tingling or numbness in your limbs. tell your doctor about new or worsening joint aches and pain, or a parasitic infection. don't change or stop asthma medicines, including steroids,
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headed for the east coast, with temperatures expected to shoot up to the 90. some places could register the highest temperatures ever recorded for the month of may. rudy giuliani was on the hot seat for nearly nine years, testifying before the january 6th committee. he appeared virtually, in response to subpoenas, seeking information about his efforts to continue to convince slate legislators to overturn election results. now, back to dateline. now, back to dateline.
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welcome back to dateline, i'm craig melvin. vanessa pond thought that raven admiral -- was honest and true, but that was a far cry from what investigators -- covered. a trail of circumstantial evidence led them to believe that raven was a killer, yet he remained free man. janet's family was desperate for answers. here yen is josh mankiewicz with, deadly denial. >> the -- family never gave up the request to pursue their family 's killer. they made phone call after phone call to police in durham. we >> just weren't sure that they would be able to ever solve the case. >> but, detectives felt that they already had. they shared with janet's family the evidence of ravens stealing and cheating. eventually, jen's parents
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agreed that raven was responsible for killing janet. >> i just knew in my heart that he had done it. it was a horrible realization. >> in 2009, new, more aggressive prosecutors reach the same conclusion, after taking a fresh look at the evidence. concluding, there was, after all, enough to seek an indictment. five years after janet's killing, raven admiral was arrested and extradited back to durham to stand trial for first degree murder. >> when reagan was finally arrested, you think but, at last, justice? >> yes. >> finally. >> in april 2013, assistant district attorney charlene franks was tapped to look at the case. you felt in pretty good shape heading to toronto? >> yes, i did. >> prosecutor frank's first one after ravens character, by calling women from his past.
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she hopes the jury would start to see the defendant as an amoral, controlling man, who cared little about his marriage. >> you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth -- >> she testified that one afternoon she went to his house and revenge odorous ex tape, and then janet came home the. >> we have to go hide, we have to go hide. he almost physically pushed me, didn't hurt me, but he pushed me into the closet. i just stayed until she left, and then i left. >> next to testify, ravens coworker, and abel have zero. she said raven flirted with her and they eventually had six. >> i did say to him, what if your wife finds? out he said, she won't ever know. >> prosecutor franks then got to the heart of your case, opening to prove that janet was trapped in an emotional lee abusive marriage. >> janet ever talking about problems she had in a marriage? >> yes. >> breast finn, brittany romero
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said that she heard just how destructive janet's merit had become. >> i overheard him talking to janet, and the way that you wouldn't want your dogs to talk to. >> would it be? say >> he said that she was good for nothing, that she couldn't do anything right. >> brittani said, raven had taken control over every aspect of janet's life, including your phone calls. >> who he doesn't like me talking to you, she said, i have to walk to the pay phone to talk to you. my heart just -- i said, how long have you been walking to the pay phone, and how far as payphone? does any of this makes us sense to my friend? >> she was almost the perfect victim for a domestic violence situation. she did exactly why she was told, when she was told. >> do you feel sorry for janet? >> yes. >> i felt sorry for the fact that she didn't have an outlet. >> if janet was a perfect
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victim, who was raven? >> he's a predator. >> a predator, who, according to charlene francs, lied repeatedly to police. for proof, she turned to janet's contact lenses. >> one of the biggest things where the contacts. >> in his interview with police, raven said that janet was in bed, watching tv and about to go to sleep, when he left or to go play soccer. >> all the sisters, mom, dad, they were adamant that, before going to bed, janet always took the outer contact ounces. >> on a hunch, detectives exam jenna's body, according to the prosecution, unearth the truth, when they discovered that she was still wearing her contacts. >> suggesting that she wasn't about to go to bed, as her husband had suggested? >> correct. she was not in that bed to sleep. >> when then, prosecutor frank 's turn to ravens non 11 call. >> is your wife conscious? >> no, she's, like, blue. >> she's blue? >> her eyes are open. >> he says she was dead. her lips were blue, and her
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eyes were open. >> but, mike guzman, the admiral is councillor, testified that raven said scum something really different about finding janet. >> i believe he said to me that she had asked him why do i hurt so bad. >> that statement he made to mike is extremely important, because that shows she was not dead at the time that he was with her. >> one of those ally. >> exactly. >> one item conspicuously absent from a growing pile of states evidence was the weapon. franks had something that she thought was just as good, the evidence that raven was a collector of knives. raven had told detectives that his collection was missing, along with his laptop. then, there was the issue of motive. prosecutors don't need to prove it, but jurors need to -- come to expect. it charlene francs called charlene garrett, ravens boss, at the time of janet's death.
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garrett told the jury that raven knew he was about to lose his job. >> -- did i get my picks the boss? i said, no word, in a way to the end of the month. >> charlene francs's point that -- and mounting debt could've driven raven to kill. she then show the jury jan's life insurance policy. the payout was $500,000. the beneficiary was raven abaroa. >> the only way you could afford to live's lifestyle was to get that insurance policy. >> another piece of this puzzle was about to be presented in court, it had to do with raven second wife, vanessa pond. it turns out, vanessa and raven were not a match made in heaven. >> i was way too naive, way too naive. >> vanessa traveled from salt lake city to durham to testify,
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not for the defense, for the prosecution. >> she told the jury how her storybook romance with raven ended almost as quickly as a began. >> did you guys are you a lot? >> yes. >> at one point, vanessa said, raven became physical. >> he had me by the arms and he threw me up against the wall. he told me how much he hated me, and how much he didn't care if i died. right after that, he comes right down. i'm so sorry, i'm so sorry, i'm so sorry. >> according to vanessa, raven display that same moody, unpredictable behavior again and again. >> the moment he got fired up about anything, he flew off the handle with -- >> that quick? >> instant.
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>> their marriage lasted only three months. you think you escape something worse than just about three month marriage? >> absolutely. >> charlene franks rested or case with confidence, even if she admitted that there were some things that she didn't have. no murder weapon? >> no. >> no witnesses? >> no. >> no blood in his car? >> no. his advantage was trying to say that i'm just a bad husband, i want to criminal as far as money goes, but there's no evidence i can my wife. >> now, it was the defense's turn to fire back. >> coming up -- and fire back they did. among the targets, raven second wife. >> vanessa has your motives for saying which is going to say. >> which would be? >> when dateline continues. e year. ♪ claritin provides non-drowsy symptom relief from over 200 indoor and outdoor allergens, day after day.
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defense table as the prosecutor wrapped up her case. but inside, raven said he was fuming. >> there is no evidence that says that i did it. they're coming up with circumstantial stuff that are quite frankly lies. >> raven has always maintained his innocence. did you love her? >> i did love her. >> did you kill her? >> i did not kill her. >> and raven says he did not emotionally abused janet either. you were abused -- accused of dominating her? truth to that? >> no truth to that, no truth at all. >> i have a strong personality but i've never been dominating. >> just as --
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ravens defense attorney called character witnesses of their own. offering the jury a completely different image of both raven and ravens relationship with janet. >> they were a close couple. they really seem to have a genuine concern and love for each other. >> misty couldn't recognize the man the state was describing. >> i don't know what they were talking about. i was shocked, very shocked. what are they saying? not only about raven but about janet. >> when you heard janet described in court as this meek, little mouse who you were pushing around -- >> yeah. >> does that sound familiar to you at all? >> no. she's quiet and reserved but when she did talk people listened. >> but what about the testimony that janet would walk a mile to a payphone so raven wouldn't find out that she was talking to her best friend brittany? that doesn't make you look like a good guy. >> that didn't happen, never
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happened. totally fabricated story. >> more evidence that janet was an independent spouse with a will of her own came from the prosecution, after it made a stunning announcement, a computer hard drive had suddenly been found in an evidence locker. >> it was an inconvenient piece of evidence. >> it was the hard drive from janet's were computer, containing emails she sent right around the time of her death. >> the hard drive, to me, was janet's voice and it was the truth about who janet really was. >> some of that emails selected by the defense exposed a flirtation janet was having with an old fling. raven side said those emails made it clear, janet was making decisions on her own. >> it showed that people were taking the stand and saying things that weren't true. >> if the hard drive had been part of the evidence from the very beginning, you would've
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seen the whole picture of janet and janet and ravens relationship. >> the defense immediately made a motion for a mistrial. arguing that without this new evidence they were unable to properly cross examine the states witnesses. the judge did not agree. >> motion for mistrial is denied. >> the defense decided to hit head on what we're by now ravens undeniable misdeeds. >> i've done a lot of bad things in my life. i admit that. >> most damaging was ravens history of infidelity, janet knew of at least one of fair, and when janet confided in her mother-in-law, karen said she was furious with raven. >> i said, he doesn't deserve you, leave him. >> you told her to go? >> yes. they did separate. janet called me just a few months later and she said we have been to counseling and we love each other. i'm not leaving him either as he.
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>> did you think that their troubles were behind them? >> i knew the troubles were behind them, they were stronger than ever. >> then came that horrible night in 2005, almost as soon as karen arrived in durham, she said she had an uneasy feeling about the investigation and the way police were looking at raven. >> i think the immediately decided, oh, this guy is not perfect. he is embezzled. husband always does it. they wanted it to be raven. >> defensive tierney's hammered crime scene analyst the possible exculpatory evidence. they claim was being ignored. the bloody footprint, the fingerprint on the office closet door, and the dna on the storm door to the side entrance. all of which were never identified, and any of which defense that could have been left by an unknown killer. >> there was a lot of things that they didn't do. forensic evidence that wasn't pursued. >> but defense attorneys felt
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jurors wouldn't have to look any further than ravens alibi to be convinced of his innocence. mike goodman, was the last person to see the couple on the night of the killing. >> on that particular night, did there seem to be any stress in their relationship? >> no. >> did they seem to be getting along just fine? >> yes. >> he said that he left the abaroas at 7 pm. >> it seemed like any other trump that i was there. >> both the prosecution and defense agreed, it would've taken raven about 30 minutes to drive to the sports arena where he played soccer that night. the defense called ravens teammate jason small, he testified raven got to the game right before it started at 9 pm. >> was raven there when you got there? >> yes. >> what was he doing when you got there? >> he was already warming up on
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the field. >> add it all up, the defense says, and raven would have had to kill janet, clean up and compose himself enough to appear normal on the soccer field. all within less than 90 minutes. >> there wasn't the time for him to get it all done, change clothes, get to the game, it just didn't make sense. >> the defense was about to rest. but first, in needed to address the damaging testimony of vanessa pond, raven second wife. >> she says you put your hands on her, shoved her, push up against the wall. >> yeah, and i pointed my finger -- >> poking her. >> didn't leave bruises, but i poked her. >> but as the story has been twisted. vanessa has her motives for saying what's she's going to say. >> which would be? >> she's better, obviously. >> you didn't believe anything but it's upon said? >> no. >> karen suggested that her testimony was payback for a bitter breakup back in 2008. >> how do you believe someone would do that, but --
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>> karen said she overheard raven on the phone with vanessa soon after they broke a. >> he happened to have it on speakerphone, she was screaming at him, how dare he leave her? she flat out said all it takes it one phone call for me, it doesn't matter when i say, people will believe me. >> you heard her say that? >> i heard her say that. >> you ever threatened him like that? >> no. he threatened me. >> a courtroom battle between two bitterly divided families was about to come to an end. now, it was up to the jury, but just after 24 hours, word began to spread throughout the courthouse, there was trouble in the jury room. >> coming up -- another stunning turn was in store for both sides. >> heartbroken, shocked, stunned. >> scared? >> terrified. >> when dateline continues.
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spanning eight years. a five-week-long trial with more than 80 witnesses. our building to this one moment. >> it was painful. it didn't feel like it was going good, it didn't feel like it was going bad it was just painful. a painful three or four weeks. >> janet's parents felt
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optimistic. were you hopeful? >> yes. and one word, yes. >> but, after just ten hours, we're came out of the deliberation room that the jury was irrevocably deadlocked. >> the quarters of the opinion that the deliberations of this jury would not likely reach a verdict. the court, and it's discretion, will -- >> the split came down 11 to 1, in favor of conviction. and then they come, back in the carriage a verdict would you think? >> i had prepared to walk out of court that day, or spend life behind bars. and never even crossed my mind that a mistrial could be double cleared. but one thing i wasn't prepared for was to sit in durham county and do this all over again. >> it was an outcome that no
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one seemed to want. >> for all the one person to say that he was guilty, and one of them, undecided. i was thinking, really? send it back. >> vanessa pond was back in salt lake city when she heard. >> how did you feel when the jury couldn't come to a verdict? >> heartbroken, shocked, stunned. >> scared? >> terrified. >> prosecutor franks immediately announced that she would try raven again. but, almost one year after the judge declared a mistrial, and less than one week before round two of jury selection was scheduled to begin, the state made a stunning announcement. >> -- extended a plea to -- that has been accepted >> the da's office made raven admiral a offer he couldn't refuse. plead guilty to manslaughter, not murder, and serve less than four more years in prison. >> do you personally accept this call? >> yes.
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>> you are okay with? that >> given the alternative. >> because if he gets try to, get in his acquittal -- >> he walks free. >> immediately. >> this wasn't just any plea raven was offered an alfred plea. meaning he would not be offered -- that did not sit well with prosecutor frank's. >> it wasn't my decision to make. i try the cases, i'm not the administrator. that was up to my boss, and my supervisor. >> why did take the plea? >> i took the plea to get out. to get out. to have a guarantee day to get out, and be with my son. i felt that there was so much corruption, so much lying that was going into the trial, i just knew i wasn't going to get a fair trial.
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>> he denied any responsibility for this crime. we were very disappointed in that. >> i wanted to throw up. that was like stabbing janet all over again. >> he didn't mention, i'm sorry. he admitted nothing. apologized for nothing. it was so cold. >> in trials like this, there are no winners, just two sides, bitterly divided. >> the person who killed my wife right now things he's home free, but i'm trying to clear my name so that we can shift the focus, and know that there is still a killer out there who, right now, is walking on the streets. >> custody of janet in raven sun, caden was granted to ravens mother. janet's mom is left with the memories of the daughter that she loved and lost. how often do you think about janet? >> constantly. the only way i can handle it is i know she's happy.
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i know she is. >> that's all for this edition of dateline. i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. welcome to the show. i'm zerlina maxwell. the january six committee is asking to talk to georgia republican congressman barry loudermilk about a tour of the capital complex, a day before the insurrection. ukraine's president says russia has fully destroyed the country's eastern donbas region, turning it into, quote, hell. more on these stories later this hour. we begin with oklahoma. the state that is now passed the most extreme abortion


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