Maui judge denies Capobianco's request for new murder trial - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Maui judge denies Capobianco's request for new murder trial

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MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A judge has denied a Maui man's request for a new trial in the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

After weeks of deliberations, Maui jurors in December found Steven Capobianco guilty of killing Charli Scott, who was five months pregnant with Capobianco's son.

His attorneys sought a new trial, however, alleging jury misconduct and court errors regarding some phone records that were not allowed into evidence. One major issue, defense attorneys said: One juror outside of deliberations had contact with nine other jurors by phone. 

Defense attorneys also raised concerns about jury conduct during a Christmas break recess, during which time at least two jurors were regularly exposed to headlines in the news.

A judge Monday disagreed with the arguments and denied the request.

"I do not see the record and the case law and the facts of this specific case supporting the request for a new trial made by the defense," said Maui judge Joseph Cardoza. 

Capobianco is set to be sentenced for Scott’s murder on March 24.

Capobianco was the last known person to see Scott alive. He told police she gave him a ride to his truck near Keanae on Feb. 9, 2014.

After fixing a battery cable, Capobianco said they both got in their vehicles and left. He says he lost sight of her near Twin Falls.

Investigators later found Scott's jawbone, fingertips, hair and clothing in an area off the Hana Highway. Court testimony revealed her skirt was punctured close to 20 times below the waistband.

In January, a jury found Scott's murder was "especially heinous," a ruling that meant Capobianco is now eligible for the state's harshest punishment: life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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