Capobianco’s request for a new trial delayed until March

Defense needs more time to prepare based on new developments

Judge Joseph Cardoza (from left) consults with First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera, deonfense attorneys Matthew Nardi and Jon Apo and Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones on Thursday morning in 2nd Circuit Court. A hearing on convicted murderer Steven Capobianco’s request for a new trial was delayed until March 6. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Judge Joseph Cardoza (from left) consults with First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera, deonfense attorneys Matthew Nardi and Jon Apo and Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones on Thursday morning in 2nd Circuit Court. A hearing on convicted murderer Steven Capobianco’s request for a new trial was delayed until March 6. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

WAILUKU — A hearing on convicted murderer Steven Capobianco’s request for a new trial was delayed Thursday until next month after the defense asked for time to submit additional information.

In court, defense attorney Jon Apo said the defense would file a supplement to its motion by Tuesday based on “developments that happened as recently as two days ago.”

In the motion for a new trial filed Jan. 6, the defense alleged jury misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct and court error in not allowing certain phone records into evidence.

The prosecution is opposing the request for a new trial. In a response filed Feb. 9, First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera said Capobianco hadn’t shown “that he did not have a fair and impartial jury, and instead speculates that the jury was somehow tainted or engaged in misconduct.”

On Dec. 28, a 2nd Circuit Court jury unanimously found Capobianco guilty of second-degree murder of his ex-girlfriend Carly “Charli” Scott and second-degree arson of her vehicle.

Steven Capobianco (from left) appears in court Thursday morning with attorneys Jon Apo and Matthew Nardi. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Steven Capobianco (from left) appears in court Thursday morning with attorneys Jon Apo and Matthew Nardi. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The verdicts came on the jury’s 15th day of deliberations in the trial that began with jury selection May 23. Judge Joseph Cardoza presided over the trial that spanned more than seven months, with jurors hearing 59 days of testimony from 76 witnesses. The prosecution presented more than 400 pieces of evidence.

Scott was last seen Feb. 9, 2014. Capobianco, 27, told police that Scott drove him from Haiku to about 3 miles past Keanae that night after his truck had stalled there the night before. After fixing a loose battery cable on his truck, Capobianco said he was driving back to Haiku, with Scott following, when he lost sight of her headlights in the Twin Falls area.

At the time, 27-year-old Scott was in the fifth month of her pregnancy with a son fathered by Capobianco.

Scott’s dog Nala, who had been with her that night, was found at Nahiku Marketplace the morning of Feb. 10, 2014. Her 1997 Toyota 4Runner was found burned near the “Jaws” surf spot in Peahi.

In addition to finding Capobianco guilty of the charges, the jury unanimously answered “yes” to the question of whether the prosecution had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the murder of Scott by Capobianco was “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity.”

Based on the jury’s finding, Capobianco could face enhanced sentencing of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder conviction.

The hearing on Capobianco’s request for a new trial was rescheduled for 9 a.m. March 6.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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