Husband Accepts Sentence for Killing Wife

Raven Abaroa maintains his innocence but agreed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
3:00 | 03/21/14

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Transcript for Husband Accepts Sentence for Killing Wife
But we'll begin with a startling case out of north Carolina. A husband pleads guilty to stabbing his wife to death, but he's allowed to deny his guilt in court. ABC's John Quinones tracking this case for five years to its surprising conclusion. Good morning, John. Reporter: This is a fascinating story, the crime of a decade down in Durham, north Carolina. The couple had everything going for them. But then the husband's true colors begin to seep through the canvas and what emerged was a frightening study of deception, murder and denial. I did not kill my wife. Reporter: Raven still professing his innocence in a North Carolina courtroom last Wednesday even after agreeing to a sentence of up to ten years in prison for the 2005 stabbing death of his first wife, Janet. Personally accept this plea bargain? Yes. Reporter: Raven says on that night he returned to the couple's home after a soccer match to make a horrifying discovery. My wife, she's dead. She's been shot or something. Reporter: In this interview with a local crime show raven plays a grieving husband and father. Losing not only a wife but now a family was very difficult. Reporter: But just days after burying Janet, he takes their infant son and moves 2,000 miles away to Utah. The charismatic handsome single father soon meets fellow Mormon and single parent Vanessa pond at their children's nursery school. Did he mention his ex-wife or what happened to her? Yes, he said that there was an intruder and that she was killed. Reporter: Raven convinces her he had nothing to do with Janet's killing and the two begin a new life together. He removed any and every doubt from my mind. Reporter: But police arrested raven in 2010 and he was tried for first degree murder last April. After 11 hours of deliberation, the jury was deadlocked. 11-1 in favor of guilty. His retrial was set to begin earlier this week until he accepted that shocking deal. Agreeing to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter hoping to avoid a murder conviction that could put him in prison for life. I did not receive a fair trial the first time. I don't think I'll receive a fair trial the second time. Reporter: And so he takes that plea, but how sweet a deal is it? And is this truly justice? You'll be the judge tonight as we take you through the twists and turns of this riveting case and you'll meet some of the other women who feel they were next in line to become raven's victims. Robin. Okay, John, ABC's chief legal affairs anchor Dan Abrams is here with more on this. So many people want to know how can you say you're guilty or plead guilty without admitting guilt. It's all the an aid Fred plea. Most accept it. Certain judges say no. What you're saying is I'm willing to take the consequences here. I think that the prosecution could likely prove its case, but I am not willing or ready to plead guilty. It has the same legal impact as a guilty plea in terms of sentence and everything else. It won't affect the sentencing. No. This is a huge win for him. After the first hung jury of 11-1 for guilt, the prosecutors offered him second degree murder with more than double this kind of sentence. He said no. He waited and now he's getting half the sentence he was initially offered. Okay, because that's why he's taking this, because a lot of people were thinking, you said 11-1 guilty though it was a hung jury and wondering why would he be offered a plea deal? You sometimes Lear about people saying they're copping a deal. This is a copout deal. This is basically him being able to say, oh, you know, I think that I'm totally innocent but I didn't get a fair trial, et cetera. The reality is it allows the family to move on. It allows prosecutors not to have to try him. It's a very long case, it allows him to get what I think is a very good deal, but no question that the prosecutors probably consulted with the family before offering this to say, hey, are you ready -- you ready to do this. Listening to him say that in court must somebody so hard for the family. They're all convinced he did it so this is a very -- it's a very technical issue, this Alford plea but the reality it has the same impact as a guilty plea. We continue to think of the family because it's hard for us to hear this. I can only imagine what it is for them. Hey, Dan, thanks very much. We'll hear more of John's report on this case tonight on "20/20" at 10:00 P.M., 9:00 central.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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