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Capobianco Sentenced to Life in Prison With Possibility of Parole

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*Maui Now’s Nicole Schenfeld contributed to this report. 

Steven Capobianco was sentenced today to life in prison with the possibility of parole for the second degree murder charge in the death of Carly “Charli” Scott. He was also sentenced to a maximum period of a 10 year term for the offense of arson in the second degree for setting her vehicle on fire, to be served consecutively.

A restitution hearing has been set for 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 4, 2017.

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Steven Capobianco’s reaction following the unanimous reading of the verdict for the enhanced sentencing charge. PC: 1.3.17 by Wendy Osher

Click here for a link to a LIVE STREAM of today’s proceeding, provided by Akakū Maui Community TV.

Capobianco was found guilty of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Carly “Charli” Scott, and setting her vehicle on fire in February of 2014.

Judge Cardoza said that the murder of a pregnant woman, “is consciousless and it is pitiless.”  In explaining his ruling, he said that no one has been able to present to the court the specific manner of death.


“In the courts views this case stands out because of the defendant’s actions including the “self-centered killing of Charli Scott,” who Maui Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza described as, “a pregnant woman excitedly looking towards the birth of her first child.”

Judge Cardoza said Capobianco “seemed burdened” by the fact that he was going to become a father.

An irony, Judge Cardoza said, is that the defendant “failed to comprehend that he was already becoming a forgotten footnote in Charli Scott’s life.”’

Judge Cardoza said Charli Scott’s full attention had turned to the joys and responsibilities of becoming a mother. “It’s ironic to think that if the defendant chose to be a reluctant father to her son, Scott would not be consumed by it. She was developing a foundation to become a new mother,” he said.

Judge Cardoza said Scott, “did not seek out the defendant on the night that he chose to end her life,” but instead said “it was the defendant that lured her into his deadly plan.”


The judge also discussed the evidence presented in the case including information about a “ping” on Scott’s phone that prompted her sister Phaedra Wais to search the Nuaʻailu Bay area.

“Haste makes waste. The defendant was working against the clock on the night in question. As fate would have it, justice emerged,” said Judge Cardoza.

He said Scott’s family has been, “deprived the opportunity of ever laying her body to rest.”

Judge Cardoza said that the litigation will continue as documented in court; investigations will likely continue; and the privacy that many would like to enjoy, will likely never be the same again.

In addressing Capobianco, the judge said the defendant will somehow have to live with the reality of depriving his son of experiencing all the wonders of life in his formative years and even the love of his own (Capobianco’s) relatives.


“If you do not come to grips with this at some point in your life, this will come to haunt you,” said Judge Cardoza who said the actions were suggestive of self-centered thinking.

“My job today is to consider the facts of this case, to consider the law, and to apply the law in a manner that I have been sworn to do.  I do not act with any vengeance in my heart,” said Judge Cardoza.


Capobianco emerged before the court in an orange jumpsuit with facial hair, unlike his clean shaven appearance and blue aloha shirt that he wore during the testimony portion of the trial.  When asked if he would like to address the court, he gave the one word answer, “nah.”

He showed no emotion as a dozen individuals, including family and friends of Carly “Charli” Scott had an opportunity to address the court, many of them asking, “Where is she?”

Among those who approached for comment were Scott’s mother, Kimberlyn, her father, Robert and three of Scott’s sisters.

“I feel like everybody is expecting us to move on after today.  We were hoping for it, but there’s no moving on,” said Fiona Wais, one of Charli’s younger sisters.  Wais continued saying that she is “forever going to be thinking about where Charli would have been” and what birthdays the family would have been celebrating with her.

“Charli was the epitome of forgiveness, she forgave so much and she loved so much… There is no forgiveness in my heart and I really hope that none of you find forgiveness and let him see that today.  He doesn’t deserve forgiveness,” said Wais, who described the events of February 2014 saying, “Time froze for everybody.”

Charli’s sister Brooke Scott simply asked the court for the maximum sentence saying, “anything less than life without parole–I don’t think that that’s justice.”  She continued saying, “Whatever you sentence him (Capobianco) to, you sentence us to.”

Another of Scott’s older sisters, Christina Brown, asked the court to make sure Capobianco is never allowed to walk free again.  She said, “This monster did not just kill Charli, he killed his own son. He butchered them. He cut her baby into pieces. You broke her jaw completely off.  You proceeded to de-flesh her. Who knows what other sick things he did to her.”

Brown then proceeded to ask, “Do you hear her screams when you close your eyes? Begging to save her baby? Her blood, her fingertips, her legs, her toes. What did her intestines feel like?”

The comments drew objection from Defense Attorney Jon Apo who said, “This is not a poetry session.” The court allowed Brown to continue her testimony.

Scott’s mother, Kimberlyn also spoke saying that initially she felt pity for Capobianco, noting that she had worked with troubled youth in the past.

“I pitied you until I realized you did have love, you had her… (but) you know what you did with that love? You stabbed it 27 times.  You cut into pieces.  You destroyed the only love you ever had.  You’re never ever going to have these things again,” said Kimberlyn Scott.

Scott’s dad, Robert said he is relying on the courts, the judge and the system to provide justice.  “We’re not supposed to want vengeance, but I do,” said Robert Scott.  “We demand justice.  We agree with the jury that this was heinous,” said Scott’s dad who demanded that life in prison without parole “applies and sticks.”

He continued saying, “If retribution is not received I will do it myself.”  Then he concluded saying, “I spit on you,” at which point he was ordered removed from the courtroom.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera addressed the court saying, “The defendant has been described as a monster,” which he defined as men who embrace evil and commit evil acts.  “They are also cowards. The defendant is the epitome of a monster.  State sincerely apologizes to the family and friends because there’s really nothing I feel that I can say that comfort or console them of provide them with peace.”  Rivera said he could not be as articulate and the family and friends who spoke today saying, “They spoke from the heart.  They spoke the truth.”

“The only way to protect the society from pure evil is to remove it forever,” said Rivera.

Rivera asked for life without parole and asked that the conviction of arson in the second degree to run consecutive, “to send the message that this man will not be released into society.”

Defense Attorney Jon Apo said “It would be foolhardy to believe that anything I say will change the court’s mind.” He said his client, Steven Capobianco “intends to exhaust all remedies.”

Apo argued for acquittal of his client saying, “Facts and evidence used in this trial do not align with the enhanced sentence being asked for by the state.”


Previous Post:

Sentencing takes place today in the trial of Steven Capobianco, who was found guilty of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and setting her vehicle on fire in February of 2014.

The jury also agreed that the crime was “especially heinous, atrocious and cruel,” a response that means Capobianco qualifies for an enhanced sentence of life in prison without parole, but it will be up to Maui Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza to decide the extent of the sentence.

Capobianco was the last person known to have seen Charli Scott alive. Scott was 27-years-old and five months pregnant at the time with an unborn child fathered by the defendant.

The trial is considered one of the most high profile murder cases in the County, and included six months of testimony and three weeks of deliberations.

Case History/Background:

Steven Capobianco was convicted of the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Carly “Charli” Scott and for 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 pleaded not guilty to the charges, but was found guilty on both counts on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016.

In reviewing aggravated circumstances for enhanced sentencing, the jury found that the crime was, “especially heinous, atrocious and cruel,” which allows the court to impose a stiffer sentence of life in prison without parole.

Capobianco was 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.”

Kimberlyn Scott, hugging her daughter Fiona Wais as they await the judge’s sentencing in the Steven Capobianco murder trial. PC: 3.24.17 by Wendy Osher

Kimberlyn Scott, Charli Scott’s mom. PC: 3.24.17 by Wendy Osher.

Steven Capobianco. PC: 3.24.17 by Wendy Osher.

Robert Scott, Charli Scott’s father. PC: 3.24.17 by Wendy Osher.

Fiona Wais, sister of Charli Scott. PC: 3.24.17 by Wendy Osher

Steven Capobianco. PC: 3.24.17 by Wendy Osher.

Steven Capobianco. PC: 3.24.17 by Wendy Osher.

Steven Capobianco. PC: 3.24.17 by Wendy Osher.

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