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Capobianco Trial: Closing Arguments Start Tuesday, Alternate Juror Placed

Posted November 28, 2016, 01:33 PM HST Updated November 28, 2016, 02:27 PM HST
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Judge Joseph Cardoza (6.27.16) Photo by Wendy Osher.

Judge Joseph Cardoza (6.27.16) Photo by Wendy Osher.

The court concluded the evidentiary portion of the ongoing murder trail of Steven Capobianco, and seated its second alternate juror on Monday.

The juror that was excused had both a vacation scheduled and had encountered what the court called a “tragic circumstance in life.” Maui Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza said the situation involved the death of someone within the last 24 hours.

This is the second alternate juror to be seated after a first alternate was placed on Nov. 1.  Two alternates remain from the original list of four.

Prosecuting attorney Robert Rivera said he had no more rebuttal witnesses in the case and indicated to the court that the state rests and has concluded it’s presentation of evidence in rebuttal.  The defense also rested with attorney Jon Apo indicating that he too had no further witnesses.

Jurors each received a 35-plus page packet of instructions from the court and Judge Cardoza spent a half hour reading the court’s instruction of law to them.

The court will proceed with the prosecution’s closing arguments at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29.  The defense will present their closing arguments the following day, on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Since the prosecution carries the burden of proof, the state will be given the opportunity to provide a rebuttal argument, which will take place on Thursday, Dec. 1.

The rebuttal will be followed by a few more instructions from the court, after which, the jury can begin their deliberations.

Witnesses Present Differing Views on Injury to Mandible 

The trial left off last week on Wednesday with testimony from rebuttal witnesses, including Dr. Kanthi De Alwis, a forensic pathologist and former chief medical examiner for the City and County of Honolulu.

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In her testimony De Alwis said marks on a jawbone recovered from Nuaʻailua in East Maui were consistent with a “sharp cutting instrument.”  She said, “I did not see those scoring marks consistent with scavenging  by a boar or pig in this mandible.”

Her remarks were contrary to testimony provided by Defense witness, Dr. Michael Laufer, who said the injuries were from a four legged creature, possibly a wild boar weighing 150-200 pounds or more.

The state had sought to introduce (Sorenson Forensics and FBI lab) DNA evidence related to a pair of blue jeans found over a guardrail along Hāna Highway.  During the trial, witnesses were informed that the DNA profile on that stain was Scott’s; however, the court would not allow the state to introduce evidence relating to a hair found in a pocket of the jeans.  The decision to exclude the evidence was based on timing and discovery.

Steven Capobianco (far left) with defense team M.Nardi (middle) and J.Apo (right). Photo by Wendy Osher 7.27.16.

Steven Capobianco (far left) with defense team M.Nardi (middle) and J.Apo (right). Photo by Wendy Osher 7.27.16.

Case History/Background:

Steven Capobianco is standing trial for the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Carly “Charli” Scott. He is also accused of setting her vehicle on fire.

Scott was 27-years-old and five months pregnant at the time with an unborn child fathered by the defendant.  Capobianco has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In the days following Charli Scott’s disappearance, Capobianco had done an interview with police in which he said Scott had picked him up on the night of Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, and dropped him off at his truck that he said got stuck in Keʻanae on Feb. 8, 2014.

According to the account, both headed back to Haʻikū, with Scott following Capobianco in case his vehicle broke down again.  Scott was reported missing the next night on Feb. 10, 2014, after she failed to show up for work and did not return phone calls and messages from her family members.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 15 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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