HONOLULU (AP) — A jury on Wednesday found a Hawaii man guilty of murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend who disappeared while five months pregnant with his child.
Steven Capobianco had been on trial since June, charged with killing Carly "Charli" Scott. Her mother and sisters last saw her on the evening of Feb. 9. 2014.
The jury also found him guilty of arson. Capobianco was accused of torching Scott's sport utility vehicle in an attempt to cover up the killing.
Maui County Prosecuting Attorney John Kim declined to comment until jurors are done with the second phase of deliberations.
Jurors were asked to return to court on Thursday to listen to arguments for and against an allegation that Capobianco caused Scott's death in an "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel manner." Their verdict will determine whether Capobianco receives an enhanced sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Capobianco told a Hawaii News Now reporter that he saw Scott, 27, on the night her family says she vanished but that he had nothing to do with her disappearance. He said Scott picked him up and drove him to his pickup truck, which had broken down. He said that after he fixed his truck, Scott was driving behind him, but he lost sight of her and figured she arrived safely at her destination.
Capobianco, who is three years younger than Scott, met her in 2009. They lived together for two years, but "the defendant would tell his friends that they were just roommates and he did not like to take pictures with her," Maui Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera told jurors in his opening statement.
They broke up, but Scott continued to love him, "even though she knew he didn't care about her," Rivera said.
While they were no longer a couple, Capobianco had another girlfriend and Scott got pregnant. Scott decided to continue with the pregnancy even though Capobianco insisted on an abortion, Rivera said.
Capobianco was starting to come around to the idea of having a child, his defense attorney, Jon Apo told jurors. Detectives, Scott's family and even Capobianco's friends presumed him guilty without considering other suspects, Apo said.
Some of her blood-stained clothing and jawbone were later found, which ended any hope she might still be alive.
Capobianco didn't testify during his trial.
Jurors listened to an interview with a detective where Capobianco repeatedly referred to Scott in the past tense even though it wasn't yet known that she was dead.
Jurors began deliberating Dec. 1. On Dec. 13 they told the judge they were at an impasse but the next day decided to continue deliberating. They took a break Dec. 21 for Christmas and resumed deliberating on Tuesday.
Scott's mother, Kimberlyn Scott, couldn't immediately be reached after the verdict was announced. In a text message to The Associated Press on Dec. 7 she expressed worry about how long it was taking jurors to decide.