comscore Judge denies new trial for man convicted of killing ex-girlfriend | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News | Newswatch

Judge denies new trial for man convicted of killing ex-girlfriend

A judge denied a new trial Monday for a man convicted of murder in the Maui death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend after his lawyer alleged juror and prosecutorial misconduct.

A juror spoke after-hours over the phone with at least nine jurors, argued Jon Apo, who represents Steven Capobianco.

“One juror communicated one on one with practically every other juror except the foreperson,” Apo said during a hearing streamed live online by Akaku: Maui Community Media. That juror “went rogue” from the mandated process of deliberations, Apo said.

Chief Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza said the juror phoned other jurors to inform them she wanted to speak with the court about her concerns regarding a note saying the jury was deadlocked. That doesn’t justify a new trial, Cardoza ruled.

The jury found Capobianco guilty of murder and arson in December for the death of Carly “Charli” Scott. She was five months pregnant with Capobianco’s child when she disappeared in 2014.

Apo said Capobianco didn’t get a fair trial because the judge allowed jurors to take a one-week break during deliberations in Maui’s highest-profile case and because of prosecutorial misconduct.

Jurors spent more than half a year in the trial, and it was fair to give them a break during the Christmas holidays, Cardoza said, noting that it’s “unrealistic to expect jurors to surrender their entire lives to jury service.”

Comments a prosecutor made during closing arguments that the defense took issue with were stricken from the record, Cardoza said.

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