HONOLULU (AP) — Jurors whose deliberations spanned nearly a month before they found a Maui man guilty of murder in the death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend took much less time Tuesday to decide the killing was especially heinous — a determination that will allow a judge to sentence him to spend the rest of his life in prison.
The jury found Steven Capobianco guilty last week of second-degree murder and arson in the death of Carly "Charli" Scott, who was five months pregnant with Capobianco's child when she disappeared in 2014.
The panel began deliberating on Dec. 1 after listening to about six months of testimony.
The second phase of deliberations involved an allegation that Capobianco killed Scott in an "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel manner." After briefly deliberating Tuesday, the jury agreed that it was such a case.
"He is finished," Scott's mother, Kimberlyn Scott, posted on Facebook Tuesday afternoon. "He will never harm another in this community."
The maximum sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison with the possibility of parole. The jury's decision means that he can receive an enhanced sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole when he's sentenced on March 24.
"Killing Charli Scott was not enough for this man," Deputy Maui Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera told jurors Tuesday, calling him a man without a conscience. Rivera held up Scott's black skirt showing multiple stab wounds in the abdomen area, saying the repeated punctures show that Capobianco made her suffer.
Capobianco not only murdered Scott, but he made her suffer "unnecessary torture," Rivera said.
All murders are arguably heinous, atrocious and cruel, said defense attorney Jon Apo, who suggested that Scott's death was quick. Unnecessary torture, Apo said, would have been one stab wound to make her suffer a long death.
The prosecution has a sympathetic jury, Apo said, noting one of the jurors is pregnant. The judge sustained Rivera's objection to mentioning the pregnant juror.
"I think we got justice today," Maui's top prosecutor, John "J.D." Kim said, thanking the jurors and offering condolences to Scott's family.
Apo couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Capobianco didn't testify during the first phase of the trial. He told the judge last week he also wouldn't testify during the final phase, The Maui News reported.
Even though the jury is finished with deliberations, the judge temporarily ordered them not to discuss the case with anyone other than fellow jurors or the court.
"I'm hoping that this will be of some assistance to you in resuming your normal lives," Second Circuit Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza said. "Out of respect for all of you, I will put in a no-contact order for the present time."