Murder trial begins for Maui man accused of killing pregnant ex-girlfriend

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Day 3 of the trial will be live streamed at this link. Note that the court determines what content can be streamed and may require KHON2 to pause the video. You experienced that with the voluntariness hearing on Tuesday.

A murder trial began Monday for a Maui man accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend in 2014.

Steven Capobianco is charged with second-degree murder for the death of Carly Scott, also known as “Charli.” The 27-year-old was five months pregnant with his child when she was reported missing in February 2014.

Her torched SUV was eventually discovered on Maui’s North Shore, but her body was never found.

On Monday, the prosecutor and defense attorney told two different stories about what happened.

In his opening remarks, prosecutor Robert Rivera painted a graphic picture of the scene of the burned SUV back in 2014, detailing of what was described as the remains of Scott.

A jawbone was found at the scene, as well as what Rivera claims was Scott’s blood on a pair of jeans recovered five miles from the burned SUV.

He also claimed Capobianco treated Scott badly.

“The defendant would tell his friends they were just roommates. He did not like to take pictures with her,” Rivera said. “She still loved him, still had feelings, even though she knew he didn’t care for her.”

Meanwhile, defense attorney Jon Apo said in his opening remarks that his client was presumed guilty by police months before his arrest, and that the investigation unfairly singled out Capobianco.

“Steven was the sole suspect of a relentless investigation to make him guilty,” he said. “The only investigation conducted was one to determine Stephen as the responsible (party), and to ignore any other possibility no matter how concrete, no matter how substantive these other leads may have been.”

For the most part, Capobianco showed no emotion. It was the attorneys who displayed passion — at times speaking on top of each other as they argued their case.

Rivera called as his first witness Linda Puppolo, who was the manager of the Maui Planned Parenthood back in October 2013 when Scott and Capobianco came into the clinic for an abortion screening.

“I believe she was in love with him and it was very painful for her,” Puppolo said. “She looked very much in pain, emotional pain.”

Scott made an appointment for the procedure for November 2013, but failed to show up.

Puppolo said the clinic called Scott to see if she wanted to reschedule for December 2013, but Scott decided she was keeping the baby.

In cross examination, Apo tried to discredit the witness’s claim that the man with Scott really was Capobianco. He also alluded that Puppolo is emotionally invested in the case against Capobianco, and that she is the prosecutor’s mother’s friend.

It was when the second witness took the stand that Capobianco began to show more emotion.

Ginseng Mileur, his coworker at Mana Foods, said Capobianco asked him “a fairly unusual question” during a conversation they had before Scott went missing.

“He asked me, ‘What would be the best way to get away with a murder?'” Mileur testified. “The only concern he seemed to express was he needed to get out of work and get involved in the search… He specifically said that he thought it would look bad. He was worried. He thought people were watching him and it looked awful that he was stuck at work while the search was going on.”

But Apo told the jury that the exchange was nothing more than a product of Capobianco’s “offbeat sense of humor,” to which Mileur replied at first, he didn’t take Capobianco’s question seriously.

Two more witnesses also took the stand — the bakery manager at Mana Foods, and a Maui County employee.

The trial continues Wednesday.

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