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Prosecution Closing Statements: Capobianco had Motive, Opportunity and Intent

Posted November 30, 2016, 06:41 AM HST Updated November 30, 2016, 07:31 AM HST
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The Prosecution presented its closing arguments on Tuesday in the ongoing murder trial of Steven Capobianco.  The trial began more than six months ago with the state introducing 71 witnesses.

Prosecuting attorney Robert Rivera recounted key pieces of testimony and shared a timeline with jurors of the events that led up to the disappearance and death of Carly “Charli” Scott.  He started out by saying,  “Often times circumstantial evidence is even better than direct evidence because not everyone tells the truth.  So you look at a set of circumstances to determine what happened.”

As an example, he said that if you go to bed at night and its dry outside, but wake up the next morning and see that everything is all wet (including tree tops, roof tops, the road, cars and grass), “you can deduce from circumstantial evidence that it must have rained.”  Rivera said, “It’s based on reason and common sense.”

During his closing argument, Rivera noted that there wasn’t much physical evidence that was left of Scott, but asked jurors to look at the inconsistencies in Capobianco’s account and consider the forensic evidence that exists.

“So we have, not a lot of physical evidence, but we do have a lot of lies coming from the defendant.  Lie after lie after lie.  Because there’s not a whole lot of physical evidence, that’s where we need to turn, to the forensic sciences.  And we need to listen to the legitimate opinions of the legitimate forensic experts in trying to piece together the truth; in trying to expose the lies, the countless lies that the defendant has told to police investigators, the media, Charli’s family and their mutual friends,” said Rivera.

“The Bottom Line”

Rivera  said, “The bottom line: He’s there when she’s murdered; He’s there when she’s covered up; and he’s there to throw the blanket into the stream and to remove her body.  We know which direction it went; we just don’t know where it went.”

Rivera posed a question to the jury asking, “Is that something the defendant would do? Remove a persons’ body?”

He continued saying, “Well he spoke about it when talked to Ashley Silva [referenced at 14:36], one of his friends.  And he spoke to her in confidence when Mo Monsalves went missing the month before, he told Ashley Silva, ‘If it was me, I’d throw her body over a cliff.  That way nobody would find it.’ Is there a reason why we can’t find Charli Scott’s body?,” Rivera said.

Motive, Opportunity, Intent:

“The state will submit, ladies and gentlemen that the state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant had a motive.  He had the motive; he had the opportunity; and he had the intent to murder Charli Scott,” said Rivera.

In explaining motive, Rivera said of Capobianco, “He could not let it go that she betrayed him.  He could not let it go that she did not tell him that she was going to go against his plan and not terminate the child.  He did not tell her any of this; and in fact, he kept it a secret.  This was going to ruin his plans.”

Rivera continued saying, “No matter what he says to the police later on, or he tells his girlfriend that he can work it out, the defendant felt strongly about that, because he wouldn’t have hid the fact that he went to Planned Parenthood. He wouldn’t have hid the fact that he spoke to Fiona [Wais] and she’s the one that told him for the first time that Charli’s going to go through with this.  Because he already knew Charli was pregnant.”

If he truly, truly was ready to have a child, Rivera said, Capobianco wouldn’t have kept those facts from the police.  “He didn’t expect Fiona to come in the court and tell you about her conversation, and he certainly didn’t expect Linda Puppolo to point him out and tell you what he told Charli in that meeting room at Planned Parenthood.”

Rivera said that Capobianco had the opportunity to commit the murder as demonstrated by his phone records.  “He was there on the 9th, 10th and 11th for no reason at all, other than to kill Charli Scott, because this was before Charli’s remains, her clothing, her burned car, or anything involving anything that could connect Charli to anyone, before anything was discovered.  He was there on three separate days,” said Rivera.

The prosecution also argued that Capobianco had intent.  “He could not fathom the thought that he would have to be connected to a person he hated.  He could not fathom the thought that Charli and he would be linked permanently because of a child he did not want,” said Rivera.

He continued saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, the person that had the motive to kill Charli is sitting right there.  The person that had the opportunity to murder Charli Scott is sitting right there.  The person that had the intent to destroy her child and to erase her memory by defacing her jawbone is sitting right here. The person that is guilty of murder is sitting in this courtroom and the state would urge you to find him guilty.”

Did the Defendant Intentionally or Knowingly Cause Scott’s Death?

In explaining to the jury the parameters for a second degree murder conviction, Rivera said that, “the only disputed issue of fact for you to determine was whether or not the defendant intentionally or knowingly caused the death of Charli Scott… that is what you need to determine.”

Rivera continued, “The law does not require the state to prove how he did it.  It does not require the state to prove the manner in which he did it… especially in this case where the only thing that’s left are the five fingernails on her right hand and two pieces of her jaw bone along with some hair [inaudible] and a bone fragment.”

Rivera said, “The pathologists all testified–they can’t tell how he killed her, but they can tell you one thing–she was killed.  It was a homicide.  This was not done by a pig or boar.”

The defense has disputed this conclusion through their own witness testimony.

Do you Believe Capobainco’s Claim that His Toyota 4Runner Broke Down?

Rivera recounted Capobainco’s version of what transpired saying, “When he was interviewed by police first on Wednesday morning, Feb. 12, 2014, he told police that he had nothing to do with the murder of Charli Scott,” said Rivera.

“In order for you, ladies and gentlemen, to believe that the defendant had nothing to do with the murder of Charli Scott, you’re going to have to buy his first story–his first claim that his car broke down.  Everything he says afterwards rests on this first claim,” he said.

“You’re going to have to believe that the defendant, on Saturday night, left the Haʻikū area (his home) and drove out towards the Keʻanae area in his lifted Toyota 4Runner with custom sounds.  Not only did he drive out to the Keʻanae area, he got stuck in the Keʻanae area.  You’re going to have to believe his explanation for getting stuck.  He said his battery cable got loose, and while he was driving, his car stalled.  That was his explanation,” said Rivera.

“You’re going to have to believe that he left his most prized possession on the side of the road, unattended with his custom sound system.  And it wasn’t just any type of 4Runner.  It was a lifted 4Runner. It was a four-wheel drive.  He left that on the side of the road,” said Rivera.

He continued, “And you’re going to have to believe that he hitchhiked all the way back to Haʻikū.  You’re going to have to believe at least one of the versions of his hitchhike story.  He didn’t get all of that straight, but you’re going to have to buy at least one of them.”

“You’re going to have to believe that he got home, and when he got home, he got a ride from his good friend to work at Mana Foods that morning,” said Rivera.

“You’re going to have to believe that he doesn’t tell anyone about his car breaking down until after Charli Scott is reported missing. Those are the details that you’re going to have to believe in order to accept his claim that he had nothing to do with Charli Scott–with her murder,” said Rivera.

State’s Argument: “Here are the Facts”

The prosecution pointed toward the expert cell site analysis provided by Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Michael Easter.

“He analyzed the defendant’s phone records on Saturday, Feb. 8, up and through the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 9, and he tells us, from 8:41 p.m. to until 6:31 a.m. the next day, the defendant’s phone was being used.  He made four communications–that he was making those communications while he was in the Haʻikū area, in the area of his residence.  He was even communicating with someone at 2:35 that morning,” said Rivera.

“So it would have been an impossibility for him to be communicating with somebody on his phone at 2:35 in the morning in Haʻikū, when his truck was supposed to have been stuck out in the Keʻanae area.  This clearly demonstrates, ladies and gentlemen, he never left the Haʻikū area,” said Rivera.

Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014: Charli’s maggot infested blanket that reeked of death

The prosecution recounted the event of Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, when a small search party that included Scott’s youngest sister, found clothing items and personal belongings in the remote Nuaʻailua area of East Maui.

“Charli’s maggot infested blanket that reeked of death–they were discovered and found by Max Jones, Phaedra Wais (Charli’s youngest and favorite sister), as well as Molly Wirth.  And as soon as those pieces of items were discovered, that gave police investigators a more, I guess focused area, where they knew they needed to search.”

Rivera said police returned to that same location with a search party that included Special Response Team units, some members of the Vice division, as well as Criminal Investigation Division detectives.

“They went to the exact same location.  And fortunately, Molly Wirth was able to remember where she found the black skirt belonging to Charli Scott, and her blue tank top–her maternity tank top.  Not only did she remember where–she marked it, and she took Capt. [Richard] Dods, Jr. and some of his men to that area,” said Rivera who noted that the search became very focused at that point.

“No longer were they starting from Peʻahi and just going down the road and seeing what they could find.  They went to that area and Capt. Dods confirmed that when they first went into that area it was thick–the brush was very thick, the ground covering was very thick, the trees were thick, they covered a lot of area–and he confirmed what Molly Wirth and Max Jones said.  They could hear each other as they combed the area, but they barely could see each other–that’s how thick it was,” said Rivera.

Rivera continued, “And as they went through that area, Capt. Dods told you they were looking for Charli.  Her clothes was just found the night before, and they were looking for Charli–not pieces of Charli, but Charli.  And as they looked for Charli, they didn’t see anything.”

“They spent a whole search going up, across, down; up again and down, and there was no Charli.  And then fortuitously, Capt. Dods lost his sunglasses. One of his men told him, ‘I can go find them Captain, just tell me where you were last.’ He said, ‘Well, I was down by where Molly Wirth found Charli’s black skirt and her blue tank top.’  That officer, he came, took the stand and testified,” said Rivera.

Officer [Arron] Souza came to court and told you he looked closer on the ground and at some point, he discovered a jawbone.  He wasn’t sure whether it was human at first or animal, but on taking a closer look you could tell it was human.  And when they looked at the jawbone, they noticed there were maggots feasting on the flesh of that jawbone,” said Rivera.

“At that point, they cleared the area once again, and they knew now when they’re going to look for Charli, she was no longer going to be Charli as a whole.  They were going to start looking for small pieces.  They were going to start looking for pieces of Charli.  And you could imagine these, for lack of a better term, these macho police officers in their fatigues,” said Rivera.  “The state would argue that probably none of them expected to be looking for a person in pieces.”

“They all expected to look for a car which happened to be burned in Peʻahi.  They also expected to be looking for an entire person, not a jawbone.  So they searched and searched.  They also found her hair. And with respect to her hair, there were stands of Charli’s red hair still connected to her jawbone,” said Rivera.

“In addition to finding the jawbone, the officers, as they conducted a closer look, they found Charli’s bra, and they immediately noticed that that bra had some major cuts in it.  It wasn’t ripped, it wasn’t torn.  There were actual cuts right in the middle of the cup that went all the way through.  And what they also noticed that there were maggots in that area,” said Rivera.

“We’ll talk about the maggots in a little bit, but they tell us a lot.  The science of forensic entomology tells us a lot about the maggots, and I’ll get into that.  In addition to that, they found some more hair, and then they found a lot of maggots.  Those were all recovered, and at that point, it was getting dark and they realized, hey we need to come back.  We need to come back because we’re no longer looking for Charli; We’re looking for pieces of Charli,” said Rivera.

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014: More Detailed Search, Fingernails and Flesh Found

Upon their return on Saturday.  This is on Feb. 15, 2014, police conducted a more detailed search.

“As they continued to search they found five fingernails coming from the same hand–Charli’s right hand.  The fingernails weren’t cut off, they weren’t torn off, they fell off because of decomposition. They were whole fingernails with skin and flesh still attached to them. They found some more of Charli’s hair.  They found a bone fragment that was too small to determine exactly which part of the body it came from–either the femur or the tibia, but they also found a body piercing that was similar to the body piercing that Charli had–or that Charli used to have.”

“They noticed all of these fingernails, skin fragments, the hair–it kind of led to a neat trail going out.  It wasn’t blasted all over the place like a chaotic situation.  It was left in a trail, strewn in a trail… which Dr. Rebecca Taylor says is consistent with a body being moved, bumping against tree stumps, plants, and causing decomposed fingernails to fall off a hand.  Again, they weren’t cut off, they weren’t pulled off.  They fell off,” said Rivera.

Forensic Pathologist Matches Fingernails to Scott

“How do we know those are Charli’s fingernails?  Well, Samantha Hashimoto from the Honolulu Crime Lab did a DNA comparison of Charli’s toothbrush.  They were her nails.  They were a match.  That was Charli’s hair. What’s the chances of Charli’s nails, her jawbone, and the red hair wrapped around it–what are the chances that would be somebody else’s red hair.  There’s no chances.  That was Charli’s hair,” said Rivera.

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In reviewing the jawbone, the prosecution pointed toward testimony received from forensic pathologists.  “That jawbone was analyzed and observed first by a board certified forensic pathologist Dr. Lindsey Harle who now works on the Big Island.  She used to be here on Maui.  She analyzed, she studied, she looked at, she measured the cuts in the jawbone.”

“In her opinion as a board certified forensic pathologist, there was no question in her mind that those cuts were made from a sharp edged knife.  There were no signs of animal activity on that jawbone,” said Rivera.

To further confirm her findings, Rivera said the jawbone was then sent that to JPAC, the Joint Prisoner of War Missing in Action Accounting Agency on Oʻahu, where they have the largest concentration of forensic anthropologists in the United States.

Dr. Rebecca Taylor took a look at it and after her analysis, she cleaned off everything, did measurements, looked at it under a microscope, took a lot of photographs, and she confirmed Dr. Harle’s findings, saying that this was made not only by a sharp edge, but a serrated edge,” said Rivera.

“You could see the obvious signs of cut marks on that small piece of jawbone.  Now you saw the jawbone. It’s not more than three or four inches in length where those injuries are.  And after that conclusion, Dr. Harle, as a board certified forensic pathologist, classified Charli Scott’s death not as an accidental death, not as a suspicious death, not as a suicide.  She classified Charli’s death as a homicide, meaning Charli was killed by another human being.  Again, it wasn’t accidental.  It wasn’t suspicious.  Her life was taken by another person,” said Rivera.

Timeline of Events: Entomology Report 

Rivera presented a basic timeline of of events where certain items of evidence were gathered by Maui Police evidence specialist Tony Earls, and in some cases, members of the public.

“When you look at it, there’s not a lot there,” said Rivera.  “There’s not a lot of Charli for us to look at, other than her jawbone spit in two and her fingernails.  So we have, not a lot of physical evidence, but we do have a lot of lies coming from the defendant.  Lie after lie after lie.  Because there’s not a whole lot of physical evidence, that’s where we need to turn, to the forensic sciences.  And we need to listen to the legitimate opinions of the legitimate forensic experts in trying to piece together the truth; in trying to expose the lies, the countless lies that the defendant has told to police investigators, the media, Charli’s family and their mutual friends,” he said.

In looking at the entomology results provided by expert entomologist Dr. Lee Goff, prosecutors first pointed toward’s his credentials.

“Besides taking part or being one of the originators in the CSI series, Dr. Lee Goff, he’s the real thing.  He’s a board certified forensic entomologist and he was able to analyze and study the insect evidence.”

Rivera said, “As you will recall, evidence specialist Anthony Earls was able to gather a lot of the maggots that were contained on Charli’s green blanket.  To no one’s fault, that blanket was co-mingled with all of the other evidence that was found on Thursday with the pair of black pants, the hoodie sweater, Charli’s black skirt, and Charli’s maternity blouse.”

He continued saying, “But when they were first found, it is clear, based on the testimonies of three persons–Max (Jones), Phaedra (Wais) and Molly (Wirth)–that the item that contained basically the vast portion of the maggots was Charli’s blanket.  And not only did it contain all of those maggots, it contained a stench that was so overwhelming, it was described as a ‘stench of death.'”

Dr. Goff was also able to analyze the maggots that were obtained by Earls from the crime scene at Nuaʻailua Bay.  “If you would recall, both detective [Nelson] Hamilton and Anthony Earls testified that there was like an indented area in the ground where there was just a whole swarm of maggots just swirling around.  It was an area where they had been feeding on their source–a food source.  And a reasonable inference is that was where, at one time, Charli lay.”

2 Egg Laying Events: “Consistent With Body Wrapped in Blanket”

After examining the maggots that were collected by the police, and sent to Dr. Goff, and using the science of forensic entomology, Rivera said he was able to tell us that the first egg laying activity.  “[It] began at a minimum of 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 10.  When he said that it was at a minimum of 1 p.m., that means it could have been earlier, but what was important–what was significant about this first egg laying activity, is that it corresponds and is consistent with Charli Scott being murdered the night before.  That’s the approximate time it would have taken for the egg laying activity to have begun.”

Rivera continued saying, “Then Dr. Goff tells us that late Monday evening, beginning at 10 p.m. all the way to Wednesday, a day and a half later at 6 a.m., egg laying activity ceases–it completely ceases.  And when he was asked what would cause the maggot activity to cease or to stop, you recalled he told us, when there is no food source, there’s no maggots.  The flies do not lay their eggs… and that’s consistent with a body being covered.”

“When asked, would that be consistent with a body being wrapped in a blanket, with the two sides being taped with masking tape, he said yes, it’s entirely consistent with that.  It’s not consistent in theory.  He told us he had a case like that on Oʻahu, where a person’s body had been wrapped in a carpet, and that ceased all maggot activity for a period of longer than a day and a half, but what it showed was that it ceases the maggot activity that happened here,” said Rivera.

Rivera posed the question to juror saying, “how do we know Charli was wrapped in a blanket? What evidence to we have that Charli was wrapped in a blanket?”

He continued to explain, “Well, Dr. Goff told us once again, maggots need a food source.  Maggots do not eat material.  They don’t eat hair.  They don’t eat fingernails.  They eat decomposed matter.  They eat blood.  They eat anything that’s coming out of the body.  They eat cells.  They eat tissue.  That’s what they eat.  In addition to that, the blanket speaks for itself,” he said.

“The mere fact that it was infested with maggots tells you that at one point, that the blanket contained a food source for those maggots.  But even more telling than that, the blanket had that stench of death.  That smell, that odor came from the blanket,” said Rivera.

“And not only did it come from the blanket, when Detective Hamilton testified, he told you as he got closer to the ground and was digging and found Charli’s piercing, he could smell the smell of death in the ground.  In fact, he had it embedded and covered on his pants that he eventually had to throw away,” said Rivera.

He continued saying, “At some point on Wednesday, this second egg laying event begins, because now the flies or the maggots have found this food source within the blanket.  It took the maggots or the flies about a day and a half to get to that food source.”

Entomology Report Corroborates with Cell Records

The prosecution then explained how the entomology and cell records, when looked at in totality, corroborated with one another.

The state noted that Spec. Agent Michael Easter took a look at the defendant’s phone records from the time period of December 2013 up until March of 2014.  “In looking at the records… it showed that the defendant never left the Haʻikū area and was there from 8:41 p.m. to 6:31 a.m., where he made four communications during that time period, all the while he was in the Haʻikū area,” said Rivera.

In pointing to a map provided by Spec. Agent Easter, Rivera said, “You can see that the communications are to the left side of the island of Maui, indicating again they were all made within the residential area of the defendant.  After looking at further records, throughout Sunday on Feb. 9, it shows that the defendant at 7:23 in the morning was still using his phone and he was still in the Pāʻia area at that time, which means he was at work.  And that coincides with the defendant’s work schedule.”

“He was continuing to use his phone up until 8:34 p.m., and he continued at that point to still be in the Haʻikū area.  He hadn’t left, I guess, from Haʻikū down towards Pāʻia, he hadn’t left that area yet.  And then, from 9:49, 11:20 and 11:23… on Feb. 9, the defendant is no longer in the Haʻikū or Pāʻia area.  He’s in an area that includes Nuaʻailua Bay,” said Rivera.

On Feb. 10, the defendant returns to the Haʻikū area, according to his cell phone records.  “It’s interesting, it shows again he is using his phone beginning at 1:53 a.m., and throughout that time period–at 1:53 a.m. or 2 o’clock in the morning, that would be equivalent to 7 a.m. on the East Coast.  That time period is corroborated by Cassandra [Kupstas, the defendant’s ex-girlfriend], because she tells you she’s sleeping, she doesn’t answer her tablet right away, so the defendant calls her, wakes her up,” said Rivera.

“If you would recall, at that point, he shows her his hands, and she notes that he is acting bizarre, he’s acting different, as if he had just gotten out of a–or as if somebody had just gotten out of a car accident.  But Cassandra confirms or corroborates the analysis provided by Spec. Agent Michael Easter,” said Rivera.

Rivera continued to recount the events as documented in phone records saying, “The defendant, during the day, from 8:35 to 10:45 a.m. he’s at the Pāʻia Mana Foods area, and he makes nine communications.  And then later on that afternoon, the defendant, from 5:16 p.m. to 5:49 p.m., he’s back on the East side.”

Rivera continued saying, “At this point, he leaves the Haʻikū or the Pāʻia and Haʻikū area, and he’s traveling back out to the East side. What’s interesting is that that is corroborated by Drew Kaiser.  If you will recall, he goes to Drew Kaiser’s home after work, and Drew wasn’t really keeping track of the time.  It could have been as early as 3:30, as late as 4:30, or he wasn’t sure.  It could have been 5, he just wasn’t keeping track of the time exactly, but he did say that the defendant came to his house to drop off his (Drew’s) brother’s Kurt’s backpack.”

Rivera said that at that time, Drew Kaiser invited the defendant to stay with him because they were going to have a gathering for his sister who the defendant knew.  “Normally the defendant would have stayed, because he did hang out with Drew and Kurt Kaiser–they were his friends, but on that particular day on Monday afternoon, the defendant said no, he had something to take care of. He had to go. And he leaves.  He doesn’t tell Drew where he’s going, but he leaves.  He doesn’t stay like he normally would.  He doesn’t partake in the food or the music… he takes off.  Where does he go?  Well again, according to his phone records, he goes out to the Nuaʻailua area,” said Rivera.

Rivera says that according to expert testimony, the defendant is once again out in the Nuaʻailua area from 5:47 p.m. to 6:35 p.m.  “Now ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want to confuse you or us when it I say he’s out there from 5:47 p.m. to 6:35 p.m.–that means he’s using his phone during that time period.  He could have been there before that, before 5:47 p.m., but he uses his phone to communicate, or to try to communicate.  Up to 6:35 p.m.  That means that was when he last used his phone to communicate in that area.  He could have been there longer than that as well… it tells you that the phone is there being used for communication,” said Rivera.

“What the state wants to do right now is combine the two sciences–the science of entomology with the science of cell site analysis and we learned a lot here.  When you look at the analysis, and when you combine the sciences, it’s going to tell us something very important,” said Rivera.

“First of all, we know that Charli’s remains were found at the Nuaʻailua Bay area, and from the cell site analysis, we know that the defendant was within that area on three separate occasions.  He was there on the 9th, the 10th and the 11th.  He was there before any large scale search had ever begun, and he was there before Charli’s remains and her clothing were ever discovered,” said Rivera.

Rivera continued to explain, saying, “And that’s important because Special Agent Michael Easter told us that when he looked at the defendant’s cell phone records from December of 2013 all the way to March of 2014, he looked at thousands and thousands of communications that were made during that time period.  And of the thousands and thousands of communications he made, Special Agent Michael Easter noted that 1%–1% of those communications were made in the Nuaʻailua area.  Just 1%.”

“That means 99% of those thousands and thousands of communications were made elsewhere.  And he made it clear that 62% of those communications was made within the defendant’s [area of] residence, where he lived and where he worked,” said Rivera.

“And what’s even more telling, ladies and gentlemen is, of those 1% of those communications made in the Nuaʻailua area, they occurred during the week of Feb. 9th, 10th and 11th.  It wasn’t scattered.  It wasn’t in December, January, February, March.  It was on Feb. 9th, Feb. 10th and Feb. 11th, so there’s no way there’s a coincidence that the defendant is at Nuaʻailua Bay when Charli is murdered.  That’s not a coincidence,” said Rivera.

“There’s no way it’s a coincidence that the defendant was at Nuaʻailua Bay when all egg laying activity ceased.  Somebody had to have wrapped her in her green blanket.  That was the defendant,” said Rivera.  He continued saying, “There’s absolutely no way or a coincidence that he’s back there on the 11th, just before the second egg laying activity begins Wednesday morning.  These aren’t coincidences,” said Rivera.

“When the defendant is there at Nuaʻailua Bay on the 9th, the 10th and the 11th, according to the timeline that you first saw, he’s there before Charli’s 4Runner is ever found.  He’s there before the pair of blue jeans that Charli’s blood is on is ever discovered… The defendant is there before Charli’s jawbone, hair, bra and maggots were recovered that Friday, the 14th.  He’s there at Nuaʻailua Bay before the rest of Charli is found–her fingernails, her piercing her hair…,” said Rivera.

“Ultimately, ladies and gentlemen, the maggots and the defendant’s phone records, that leads us to the truth there,” said Rivera, going against what he called, “the defendant’s lies when he says he says he has nothing to do with Charli’s murder.”

“The only other time that he’s at the Nuaʻailua area is when he’s telling people not to go down there,” Rivera said.

Court to Reconvene for Closing Arguments from the Defense

Capobianco is also charged with the second degree arson of Scott’s 4Runner, which was found burned at the Peʻahi or “Jaws” area.  If the jury concludes that the defendant was responsible for the arson, they would also have to agree on several other material elements in order to convict.  Rivera explained that the defendant would have had to have known that the damage would have exceeded $1,500.

The court will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30, with the defense scheduled to present its closing arguments.  That will be followed by the state’s rebuttal argument, which is scheduled for Thursday morning.

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

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.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Steven Capobianco. PC 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Steven Capobianco. PC 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Maui Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza. PC 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Maui Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza. PC 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Defense team in State v Capobianco murder trial. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Defense team in State v Capobianco murder trial. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Defense team in State v Capobianco murder trial. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Defense team in State v Capobianco murder trial. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Defense team in State v Capobianco murder trial. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Defense team in State v Capobianco murder trial. Photo 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Maui Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza. PC 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

Maui Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza. PC 11.29.16 by Wendy Osher.

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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