Capobianco Trial: Jury “Divided,” Deliberations Continue

December 14, 2016, 10:43 AM HST · Updated December 16, 5:25 AM
Wendy Osher · 18 Comments
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Steven Capobianco. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Update: 2:22 p.m. 12.14.16

The jury has decided to continue deliberations after receiving a communication from the court today asking if they are deadlocked or if more time would help them in coming to a decision.

The court asked the jury today: “Would further deliberations assist the jury in reaching a verdict, or are you hopelessly deadlocked such that your are unable to reach a unanimous verdict as to both counts?”

The communication was made after the jury indicated that it had not come to a decision for both convictions after taking a vote three times.

In reading a communication from the jury in court, Maui Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza said the statement received by the court may or may not reflect the position of the 12 jurors.

The communication which was received on Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 13, 2016, read: “We have completed our deliberation. We have voted three times.  We are unable to reach a decision for both convictions.  We are too divided.  After five months of testimony, 75 witnesses, nine days of deliberation this is our final decision.  Please give us the date and time for announcement in court.”

The jurors then asked to leave for the day on Tuesday and that request was granted.  Approximately 15 minutes after the jurors left on Tuesday afternoon, the bailiff received a call from one of the jurors who wanted to express a concern relative to the jury communication, and did so in court during a bench conference this morning.

After reviewing the judge’s communication, the jury responded saying: “The jury has decided to continue to deliberate to feel more confident in their own personal vote decision.  Can I please speak to Judge Cardoza?”

The court granted the jury’s request and a separate juror addressed the court during a second bench conference when court reconvened this afternoon.  The two jurors who approached the bench today were asked to not reveal the jury’s position numerically or otherwise.

The jury has since requested the transcripts of Maui Police Department Evidence Specialist Anthony Earls and MPD Detective Nelson Hamilton.  Those documents are being prepared by court reporters, and will be made available to the jury on Monday, Dec. 19, 2016.

Prior to entering the communication on Tuesday afternoon, the jury had asked to review the black skirt that was entered into evidence, and had a chance to examine and review the item.

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    The court went on record for a second time today in the Capobianco case at around 2 p.m. Akakū Maui Community Media has a live feed in court which is being broadcast via their YouTube channel at the following direct LINK.

    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 in February of 2014.

    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.

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    The defendant is the last person known to have seen Scott alive.  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.

    In closing arguments, the defense suggested that the story Capobianco told police could have been lie to cover up a drug deal involving marijuana.  Defense Attorney Jon Apo said, “This big lie, the state says is proof of murder–Ladies and gentlemen, why would it be a surprise to anyone that a drug dealer, as the state has evidenced him to be, would be lying to a detective about why he was at a particular location?”

    Prosecuting attorney Robert Rivera said that Capobianco was the “only person with a motive, the opportunity and intent,” and said it was “utterly and absolutely ridiculous,” that “he didn’t try to clear his name and continued to lie just to cover up some kind of marijuana deal.”

    The defense also argued that marks left on a jawbone recovered from Nuaʻailua were consistent with scoring from a pig or wild boar.  “Dr. Laufer tells you that parallelism of the scratches make it highly unlikely that those were caused by a knife,” Apo said during closing arguments.

    That argument was contrary to the testimony presented by several witnesses for the prosecution who said the marks were consistent with a knife.  Dr. Lindsey K Harle a Forensic Pathologist with Clinical Labs of Hawaiʻi testified that incision injuries were likely inflicted by “someone attacking her with a sharp object” or someone using a knife to “essentially de-flesh the bone.

    Previous Post: 10 a.m. 12.14.16

    We have received word that the Second Circuit Court on Maui *may* be going back on record in the Capobianco case this morning, no earlier than 10:30 a.m.

    We have not received any notification that the jury has a verdict; however jurors have been in deliberations for nearly two weeks.

    Deliberations began at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 following the conclusion of closing arguments from the state and defense, as well as a rebuttal argument from the prosecution.

    The trial began more than six months ago with the state introducing 71 witnesses and entering hundreds of items into evidence.

    Steven Capobianco. Photo 12.14.16 by Wendy Osher.

    (L-R) Steven Capobianco with his defense team, attorneys Matthew Nardi, Jon Apo. PC: 12.14.16 by Wendy Osher.

    State v Capobianco. The prosecution looks on as Judge Joseph Cardoza speaks. PC: 12.14.16 by Wendy Osher.

    Maui Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza. PC: 12.14.16 by Wendy Osher.

    Steven Capobianco exiting the courtroom. PC: 12.14.16 by Wendy Osher.

    Carly “Charli” Scott’s mother, Kimberlyn Scott (rt in black) outside of the Maui court building. PC: 12.14.16 by Wendy Oher.

    Charli Scott’s parents outside the courthouse. PC: 12.14.16 by Wendy Osher

    Steven Capobianco (background) with his defense team, attorneys Matthew Nardi (sitting), Jon Apo (standing in foreground). PC: 12.14.16 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 nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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