comscore Evidence barred in Capobianco case | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News

Evidence barred in Capobianco case

WAILUKU >> A judge has ruled that prosecutors cannot use DNA evidence against a man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend on Maui in 2014.

Steven Capobianco is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Carly “Charli” Scott, who was five months pregnant with his child when she disappeared two years ago.

Prosecutors say a hair found on a pair of Capobianco’s jeans in January had Scott’s blood on it, tying him to the crime.

Maui Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza granted the defense request to exclude the evidence Tuesday based on a delay in getting the results. The judge determined that allowing for a review of the DNA testing could potentially affect Capobianco’s right to a speedy trial.

“I’m not, in this ruling, being critical of anyone involved — not the prosecution, not the FBI, not HPD, not police officers involved, nor any defense experts that might be involved,” Cardoza said. “But I have to make sure there’s a fair trial here.”

The evidence had been sent to Quantico, Va., to be examined in an FBI laboratory in February. The FBI reports were received by the prosecutor’s office May 12 and sent to the defense between May 18 and 20, according to testimony.

“There is absolutely no explanation as to the delay,” said Capobianco’s attorney, Jon Apo.

First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera acknowledged a “tardy” arrival of the reports but argued that the DNA evidence was crucial to the case.

Judge Cardoza countered, “The case is obviously going to be tried on a web of evidence. The question is what’s going to be included in the web of evidence.”

Jury selection began May 23.

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  • Bad decision by Judge Cardoza. The delay is giving the DNA findings to the defense was not unduly late, so what is the big deal. If the defense needed to have the findings examined
    by their own “experts” they could ask to a delay in the proceedings. Such a delay under the circumstances would not deprive the defendant his right to a speedy trial.
    Sounds like grounds for appeal already.

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