Capobianco Verdict: Guilty as Charged
Jurors have reached a unanimous verdict on both charges: finding Steven Capobianco guilty as charged for murder in the second degree of Carly “Charli” Scott and for setting Scott’s vehicle on fire.
The court is recessed until 11 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 29, when they will hear arguments and begin review of alleged aggravated circumstances in the case.
The court reconvened this afternoon (Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016) in Judge Cardoza’s courtroom to go on the record regarding scheduling for the aggravated circumstances allegation in the indictment.
The jury must now decide if the crime qualifies for enhanced sentencing. They will be asked if the state proved the murder was “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, manifesting in exceptional depravity.”
Maui Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza has indicated that this portion of the trial will take approximately two hours, including about 25 minutes for closing and rebuttal statements. No opening statements or additional evidence will be presented for this portion of the trial. There is no restrictions on how long the jury can deliberate on the question.
Capobianco was found guilty today of killing Scott, who was his ex-girlfriend, 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 had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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 with jury selection in May and included more than 70 witnesses presented by the state, and hundreds of items into evidence.
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.”