Capobianco Murder Trial Day 18: Charli’s Older Sister Testifies
The murder trial for Steven Capobianco continued on Friday with testimony surrounding the defendant’s relationship with Carly “Charli” Scott and the search that ensued following her disappearance.
Day 18 included a full day of testimony from Brooke Scott, the oldest sister of Carly “Charli” Scott, who answered questions about the events that led up to her sister’s disappearance and the search that followed.
Capobianco is accused of killing Charli Scott, who was 27-years-old and five months pregnant with their child when she went missing in February of 2014. Charli was Capobianco’s ex girlfriend at the time. Capobianco pleaded not guilty to the charges in July of 2014.
Brooke Scott first came to know the defendant at Mana Foods in Pāʻia where they were both employed in different departments. Her sister, Charli, started working there a year after she started.
Scott said she learned that Charli was missing from a phone call that she received from another sister, Shay, who was living in Oregon.
When police arrived on the night of Feb. 10, 2014, to take a police report at their mother’s Haʻikū home, Brooke Scott said she was already sleeping at the front house on the same property.
The following morning, Brooke went to Mana Foods at around 8:30 a.m. to question Capobianco about Charli. At the time, she said she did not know that Steven had asked Charli to help him retrieve his vehicle late Sunday evening, Feb. 9, 2014 from a location past Keʻanae in East Maui.
During cross exam, Brooke Scott answered a question about the “intuition” she had that morning in approaching the defendant about Charli’s disappearance. “I didn’t have any idea that Charli and Steven met up on Sunday (Feb. 9, 2014). The intuition is talking about knowing who to talk to first when inquiring about Charli… If Charli wasn’t at home and was supposed to be at work… For anyone to have asked for a favor that late at night would have been Steven, in my opinion,” she said.
“I don’t know anyone else in the world that would take her sleep time away from her,” she said. Defense attorney Jon Apo followed up with the question, “Other than Steven?” and Brook Scott responded saying, “Correct.”
Brooke Scott testified that the conversation at Mana Foods was cut short because she began to cry and “didn’t want to cause a scene in the store.”
“Steven provided you no additional information because you walked out?” defense attorney Apo asked. Brooke Scott responded saying, “He gave us the best information that we had so far, which is that he had seen her.”
After checking the Hui Noʻeau and Paragon Salon where Charli worked, as well as Charli’s Makawao home, Brooke Scott texted Capobianco at around 1:30 p.m. and the two agreed to meet up at Brooke’s Haʻikū house.
Brooke Scott testified that Capobianco arrived at between 3 and 3:30 p.m. and she followed him to a spot on the Hāna Highway near Mile 20 (about 4.5 miles past Nuaʻailua or “Paraquats”), where he said he had been with Charli two days earlier.
About 20 minutes into the drive, on the way to the spot where Capobianco said he had last seen Charli, Brooke Scott said she ran into her mother and younger sister Phaedra Wais, who were headed back to Haʻikū after searching for Charli as well. Phaedra jumped into Brooke’s car and the two proceeded to follow Capobianco.
The three were at the Mile 20 location for less than 10 minutes and started heading back to Haʻikū, and stopping along the way to call out for Charli and look for any signs of her vehicle.
Within a half hour of leaving Mile 20, Brooke Scott testified that she turned down a dirt road at mile 15.5, and observed headlights coming up, and noticed that the vehicle was being driven by Capobianco.
While there, Brooke Scott asked Capobianco if he could make it down the dirt road, and he offered to go back down, but Scott and her sister Phaedra decided to head back to Haʻikū instead.
Brooke Scott later learned that the dirt road led down to Nuaʻailua Bay, the spot where searchers found clothing and personal belongings believed to be those of Charli Scott.
Later that same evening, Brooke Scott testified that Capobianco was asked to meet up again to provide a timeline of events.
The defense also questioned Brooke Scott about a backpack found on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 at the Peʻahi surfspot known as “Jaws,” where Charli’s vehicle was found burned and tipped over. She testified that someone in the search party had pointed it out to her to see if any of the items belonged to Charli, but Brooke Scott dismissed the item saying it looked like somebody’s overnight bag.
“I wasn’t thinking in terms of it being relative to an investigation. There were hundreds of things pointed out to me in February… I was looking for my sister, I was way more concerned with that, than some dirty backpack in a field,” Brooke Scott testified.
The defense also asked about the organization of searches conducted by family and friends. Brooke Scott testified that the group, “attempted to be as organized and safe as we could. When people would meet we asked that people would sign in and indicate what area they wanted to search. People were assembled in teams, and given safety information,” she said.
Brooke Scott said they tried to get volunteers to commit to a one mile stretch along the Hāna Highway and asked people to leave their contact information, but said, “We couldn’t physically force everybody to sign in.”
She said the sign-in sheets were used to “protect the people searching and account for the areas that had been searched as well.”
Brooke Scott also testified about the last time she saw Charli on the night of Feb. 9, 2014. She recalled offering to have someone follow Charli home because she was low on gas. “She had told me that she needed fuel and we discussed the fact that it was past 8 p.m and the gas station five minutes from my house was closed,” she testified.
Brooke Scott said she checked the back property to see if there was fuel and asked Charli if she thought she could make it home. “She said, ‘Yeah, I think I can make it,'” Brooke Scott testified.
The defense also questioned Brooke Scott about the clothing that Charli was wearing on Feb. 9, 2014. During an interview with police, Brooke Scott had recalled Charli wearing a dress, but she testified on Friday that, “I think its very likely I could have gotten confused at different times of day and what she was wearing at any number of interviews.”
Family members described Charli in the light colored “ice cream” print dress earlier in the day during a function at the Hui Noʻeau where she worked.
“I did have that memory but had no way to know if it was accurate,” she said, until her sister showed her a photograph that was taken that night in which Charli was wearing a blue tank top with white polka dots.
“I have a vivid memory of Phaedra touching Charli’s stomach and seeing that polkadot print,” said Brooke Scott. “Seeing that picture refreshed my memory,” she said.
The trial continues today in 2nd District Court before Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza.