Detective Finds Muddy Cell Phone Case in Capobianco’s 4Runner
A detective with the Maui Police Department was among the witnesses who testified on Tuesday in the ongoing murder trial of Steven Capobianco.
Capobianco is standing trial for the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Carly “Charli” Scott, and for setting her vehicle on fire. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Scott was 27-years-old and five months pregnant with a child fathered by Capobianco when she went missing in February of 2014.
Detective Leif Adachi, a 23 year veteran of the Maui Police Department, said he assisted with the search of Capobianco’s vehicle and the investigation of the area where Scott’s vehicle was found.
Cell Phone Case Covered in Mud Recovered from Capobianco’s 4Runner
During the search of the defendant’s Toyota 4Runner, police looked at the engine. When asked if any particular attention was given to a specific area, Adachi said there was green paint on one of the wires, and that the wire looked cleaner than the others.
He said a green smart phone case that was “covered in mud” was recovered from the rear passenger floorboard, and was entered into evidence.
Women’s Sunglasses Found at Peʻahi
Adachi, who has been a detective with the Criminal Investigation Division since March of 2012, said he also sat in with Lead Detective Wendell Loo during one of the interviews with Capobianco, and assisted in the search at Peʻahi, where Scott’s burned vehicle had been found.
During the search, Det. Adachi said he joined other members of the Criminal Investigation Division and the department’s Special Response Team at the site.
“We followed a 4-wheel-drive trail through cane grass from where the vehicle was found towards the West Maui mountains,” said Det. Adachi, who noted that there were lots of trails that were searched by other department members. “I took one trail and started walking on that trail,” said Det. Adachi.
“I found large, from of what it looked like, women’s sunglasses. It was clean. It wasn’t covered in dirt or dust. It looked like it had just been dropped there,” said Det. Adachi, who photographed where it was and turned the item over to evidence. The sunglasses were brown and were found laying in the grass, according to testimony.
During a preliminary search, Det. Adachi said he drove with Det. Loo as far down as the cliff side and drove around the entire perimeter of the area.
Adachi was scheduled to resume testimony on the stand when trial resumes at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016 before Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza.
Blood Stained Jeans Found by Volunteer Searcher
Also during testimony on Tuesday, Maui resident Gayle Barklie said that while participating in a volunteer search on Feb. 13 2014, she found a pair of jeans that appeared to have blood stains on them.
The discovery was made near Mile 10 of the highway over a guardrail.
During the discovery, Barklie said the foliage “was kind of fluffy. It wasn’t stepped on or tramped down. It was thick fluffy foliage,” she said, noting that the jeans were in a pile with nothing else around them.
Fire Department Investigator Qualified to Testify in Trail
Earlier in the day, James Blando, a 24 year veteran of the Maui Fire Department, testified. He served with the department’s Fire Prevention Bureau for 13 years, with a focus on fire investigation.
Over the course of his career, Blando said he had participated in over 300 fire investigations, about 100 of which were vehicle fires.
Blando was called to investigate Scott’s vehicle that was found burned at Peʻahi or “Jaws.”
On Monday afternoon, a hearing was held in which Judge Cardoza found Blando to be qualified to appear as a witness in the case.
Witness Says No Broken Down Vehicles Seen in Keʻanae Area on Feb. 9, 2014
Also this week, Maui resident, Traci Hanchett testified about her drive into and out of Hāna on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014.
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 got stuck 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.
Hanchett has a small fruit and vegetable farm on a property left to her by her grandfather, located about a mile past the Hasegawa General Store on the mauka side of the highway.
According to Hanchett’s testimony, she drove into Hāna from Wailuku that Sunday morning and did not notice any cars that were broken down or on the side of the road in the Keʻanae area. When asked how sure she was, Hanchett replied, “I’m very sure.”
She did observe a small white car that was broken down closer to the down side of the road that she said had been there for about three weeks and had been vandalized.
“I do take notice of cars that are broken down on the road,” said Hanchett, in case someone that she knows from Hāna is broken down and is in need of help.
While coming out of Hāna and headed back into town at around sunset, Hanchett testified that she did not see any broken down vehicles, beside the abandoned car closer to town that she had noted earlier.
“After my Sunday trip in and out of Hāna, I had thought about what cars I had seen,” said Hanchett.
No questions were asked on cross exam of the witness.
Earlier this week, two members of a Human Remains Detection Unit testified that their cadaver dogs alerted them to an odor in the Nuaʻailua Bay area of East Maui.