The murder trial involving Steven Capobianco resumed Wednesday in Wailuku.
He entered the courtroom shortly after 10 a.m. wearing the same aloha shirt he had on the first two days of the trial. There was a new addition Wednesday: a yellow legal notepad that he wrote on during the proceedings.
Capobianco is accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Carly “Charli” Scott. Scott was 27 years old and five months pregnant when she went missing in February 2014.
In the morning, the prosecution played an audio recording of an interview conducted with Capobianco by Sgt. Wendell Loo, the primary investigator assigned to the case, on Feb. 12, 2014.
Detective: Carly was your girlfriend?
Capobianco: She was at one point.
Detective: How long ago was that?
Capobianco: Years ago, but we’ve stayed in touch and remained friends since then and occasionally hooked up still.
The interview then turned to the weekend of Feb. 8 and 9, when Capobianco said his truck died along Hana Highway. He caught a ride back to Haiku, went to work, and then reached out to Scott.
“I wanted to talk to her, get a ride out to Keanae to get my truck, to jump it, or to tow it if we had to, or whatever we had to do. I just wanted a ride from her. So we went out there. I had a lot of stuff to do, so it took about until 8:30 I believe to actually leave my house,” he said in the recording. “At around 8:30, she came over to my house, got me, we drove out to where my truck was… Sometime at like 9:15 or 9:30, we got to my truck. I got out. It was dark so she had her headlights shining on my hood, which was way better than the night I got stuck before. I had no flashlight so I couldn’t see anything. Turns out, I just shook my battery loose.”
Capobianco said he managed to start his truck and “I took off first back to Haiku and she was supposed to follow me, just in case it happened again. That way I wouldn’t be left out there all alone again.”
He said he kept track of her “really distinct headlights” in his rearview mirror.
“She’s got this skull emblem on her grill. It’s got two LEDs that are really bright. You can see them from really, really far away,” he said in the recording. “I made sure to keep her in my rearview mirror until we got to, what was it, like Ulalena, the second entrance to Ulalena, at which point I felt like we both had cell phone reception. It was close enough to my house that if anything happened, she’d call me and I’d be right there. So I proceeded to speed up a little bit. I lost track of her right about there.”
The discussion then delved deeper into their relationship.
Detective: When you guys broke up and stuff, or during your relationship, did you guys get into any domestics and stuff?
Capobianco: Um, there was never any violence. Like, I’ve never hit her or she’s never tried to hit me or anything like that. But it was like any young relationship, good and bad. But it never escalated to the point where we screamed at each other or anything like that. We worked through everything. When it did finally end, it was just a mutual, this isn’t working. I’m attracted to other people. You’re attracted to other people. Let’s just go our separate ways. Even after we broke up, we still lived together for like six months, I think.
Capobianco said in the interview that he learned about Scott’s pregnancy within the past month or so.
Capobianco: I had heard little whispers about it, but I wasn’t sure, because she stopped answering my calls, and she stopped answering my calls because she was afraid of how I was going to react about the baby. Admittedly, I’m not thrilled about having a child. It’s not what I was planning on doing at 24. But I was starting to buckle down and get my [expletive] together and try to take care of some [expletive] so I can take care of my child. What I understand, she’s about five months pregnant, which would be right. Yeah, it was really touch and go because we were both not sure what to do. She was sure she wanted the baby and I wasn’t sure at first, but I saw how happy it made her and it made me happy. So I was, it was growing on me.
Detective: When you found out, did you tell her at any time, ‘Charli, you gotta terminate this. I don’t want to be a dad’? ‘I don’t want,’ you know.
Capobianco: I asked her to consider it, but I didn’t say it had to be. It’s her body and her choice. Like I said, I wasn’t thrilled about having a child and my first reaction was like, ‘Hey, I’m not ready for this.’ But about a week later, again saw how happy she was with it, all it takes to make her happy. I would have been all for it. I am all for it.
Loo said Capobianco was cooperative during the interview. At the time, he was not considered a person of interest or a suspect in a criminal investigation.
But, as revealed in the recording, the interview did address the possibility.
Detective: I have to ask you this question. Did you do anything to hurt Charli?
Capobianco: Absolutely not.
Detective: Do you have any, do you know or did you have anybody else hurt Charli for you?
Capobianco: Absolutely not.
Detective: Would you hurt Charli?
Capobianco: Never. I would never bring any harm to my own child either.
Detective: I have to ask these questions and stuff.
Capobianco: It’s understandable. Actually, I was going to bring it up because I realize, as the guy who got her pregnant and her ex-boyfriend, I’m probably a prime suspect.
According to Loo, “Mr. Capobiancos body language was, he kind of wasn’t attentive, slouched back in his chair, arms folded. Wouldn’t make eye contact when I asked him questions. He had to kind of, look up before he would answer instead of just, when I asked a question to get a response, it wasn’t a sense of urgency. It was just cold.”
As the audio recording played in court, Scott’s family appeared upset while Capobianco showed no emotion.
Prosecutor Robert Rivera asked Loo if he noticed anything else about his interaction with Capobianco. Loo said he noticed burn marks on Capobianco’s hands.
Capobianco is also being tried for arson charges. Scott’s car was found burned on Maui’s north shore.
After lunch, the jury heard another recording, a second interview on a different day, where Loo read Capobianco his Miranda rights.
Detective: The thing is, I noticed you have injuries on your hands and stuff. What is that from?
Capobianco: Burn from work as a baker. That happens a lot, especially on this one. This one was from working on my truck window. (The) window came down on me.
Loo took a sterner tone in his line of questioning.
Loo said, “The thing is, did you guys have a fight? You know, was there an argument? You know how relationships go, we all get into that, you know, situations where, ‘Hey honey, everything’s good,’ and then the next thing everything goes to [expletive.] You know, I totally understand that. Is that what happened?”
“No,” Capobianco replied.
“You’re the last person to see her alive at this point and stuff. You’re telling me that she followed you all the way out to Huelo area where you guys hit the straightaways and that was pretty much it? You didn’t text her until the next morning to tell her thanks, you know, kind of stuff, so, you know, why didn’t you wait until her headlights caught up? Why did you just take off?” Loo asked.
“Because we were both in an area where we had cell phone reception. I was close to home and wanted to get home to my dog. I figured if she needed any help, she was just a phone call [inaudible] just a phone call away,” Capobianco replied.
Capobianco revealed Scott was just a “hookup” when he got her pregnant, and that he had already moved on with a new girlfriend when he found out.
He said, “I had two girlfriends since Charli actually, and Taylor did not end exactly well, but again, I wish no harm on her. She just was cheating on me so I put all her stuff outside and said, ‘Well, you can go move in with him then.’ And then that was actually about a week before I got Charli pregnant because I was very upset with the situation at hand. I was going to Stopwatch to drink that night, got trashed. She was there, started talking, and then I woke up in her house the next day and thought ‘Aw, crap.’ And then I get a call a couple months later like ‘Yeah, Charli’s got your baby.'”
Still, he insisted, he was willing to make it work. He said they had even agreed on a name for the unborn baby, if it was a boy: Alexander Joshua Scott.
Detective: What were your concerns and stuff about having a child?
Capobianco: I’m a single, 24-year-old male who has a dog and I can barely keep me and my dog… I mean like yeah, we eat pretty well, but it’s like I have a dollar in my pocket right now until my next paycheck. I don’t have any spare cash for a child. And she’s the same way. She’s working two or three jobs from what I understand, and barely scraping by on her bills too with her two dogs. So she, I mean, I just didn’t see it happening. I want to provide the best possible life for that child and at first, it just didn’t seem like it was going to happen. But again, as I saw her being happy and I saw other people being happy, and everybody around us was so helpful and so willing to help support us that it was going to work. And even my new, current girlfriend, Cassie, I called her up immediately as I found out, laid it out for her and she wasn’t necessarily happy of course, but even she was willing to try to make this all work. And I told Charli about my new girlfriend Cassie and all three of us were willing to make this work.
Detective: You gotta help me, try to help me figure it out.
Capobianco: That’s why I came down here. I’m doing my absolute best. I told you guys everything I have. I have literally been doing everything I can to help find this girl myself. I want to find Charli. I want to find my child. I want them to be safe. I love them. I love Charli. The child’s not there yet, so. But I still love the idea of having a legacy. I would never bring any harm to that.
The court gets a break Thursday and the trial will resume Friday. Scott’s mother, Kimberlyn Scott, is expected to testify.