Capobianco Trial: Prosecution Rests; Defense to Call Witnesses

November 2, 2016, 2:57 PM HST · Updated November 3, 5:18 AM
Wendy Osher · 3 Comments
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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 prosecution has rested its case in the ongoing murder trial of Steven Capobianco, after presenting dozens of witnesses over the course of 18 weeks.  The motion was made after a one week break due to vacation requests that were accommodated between Oct. 26-31, 2016.

When trial resumed on Tuesday, Nov. 1, the state concluded its presentation of evidence with prosecuting attorney Robert Rivera saying, “At this time the state has no further witnesses for this case in chief and the state will rest.”

The next stage of the proceeding is that the defense is given the opportunity to present evidence. “Bear in mind that the defense is under no obligation to present any evidence,” said Maui Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza, who noted that the defense intends to present two days worth of evidence when the trial resumes.

Montage. Defense Attorney Jon Apo (left). Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera (right).

Montage. Defense Attorney Jon Apo (left). Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera (right).

One of the witnesses that will be called by the defense is not available in Hawaiʻi at this time, but is scheduled to be available to testify on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016.  “The court will authorize as requested, the presentation of the defense evidence in chief on Nov. 9 and 10 (2016),” said Judge Cardoza.

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A juror who had planned to be on vacation between Nov. 7 and Dec. 6, 2016, has been excused from further service, and was replaced by the first alternate juror who has since been seated in their place. There were a total of four alternates that were selected between May 23 and June 22, 2016, prior to the start of testimony.

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, the court also reviewed requests by the prosecution to withdraw or substitute various exhibits that were previously presented in the case.

One piece of evidence relating to a drive to Hāna and alleged statements that were made by the defendant and police while in the vehicle, has been withdrawn.  A hearing was to take place outside of the presence of the jury relating to the item, but the prosecution has since decided not to present that evidence. Another piece of evidence relating to writing on a page from a tablet that was presented as evidence earlier in the trial, was replaced with a redacted version.

The court also received into evidence, a letter dated Sept. 8, 2016 that was sent to the Prosecutors Office regarding juror conduct.  Judge Cardoza said the letter will remain part of a record of the proceeding.

The testimony portion of the trial began more than four months ago on June 27, 2016.  Court will remain in recess until 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016.

Case History/Background:

Charli Scott (left) courtesy photo; Steven Capobianco (right) by Wendy Osher (May 2016).

Charli Scott (left) courtesy photo; Steven Capobianco (right) by Wendy Osher (May 2016).

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 nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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