Capobianco Trial: Jury Deliberations Resume Today

December 27, 2016, 8:27 AM HST · Updated December 27, 8:27 AM
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(L-R) Steven Capobianco with his defense team, attorneys Matthew Nardi, Jon Apo. PC: 12.14.16 by Wendy Osher.

Jury deliberations resume at 10 a.m. today in the trial of a man accused of murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

Steven Capobianco is standing trial on charges of killing “Charli” Scott and 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.

Deliberations began on Dec. 1, following the conclusion of closing arguments from the state and defense, as well as a rebuttal argument from the prosecution.

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The court received communication on the ninth day of deliberations indicating that the jury was “divided.”  In a subsequent communication, the jury decided to deliberate further to “feel more confident in their own personal vote decision.”

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

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.

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.”

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