Maui Murder Trial: Judge Allows Statements Relating to Polygraph
A second day of witness testimony got underway on Tuesday in the murder trial for Steven Capobianco who is accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend Charli Scott and setting her vehicle on fire. Scott was five months pregnant and 27-years-old when she was reported missing in February of 2014.
A mapping specialist with the County of Maui continued his testimony of maps entered into evidence that were made at the request of the prosecutor’s office.
Much of the morning was spent addressing the margin of error contained in mapping and the accuracy of images being used as reference in the trail.
Peter Gehring testified about GIS maps he had produced and details of a map depicting an area close to Nuaʻailua Bay in East Maui.
Under cross exam, Ghering said, “everything has a margin of error,” and that within a year, data can change by 2 cm because the island moves that much each year.
He expressed confidence that the imagery generated was accurate to under a meter for where a yellow arrow was placed on a particular map.
He explained mapping as a combination of both art and science, with the science being the management of technical data, and the art being the display in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
Following a morning break, the prosecution called Detective Wendell Loo to the stand.
After several questions establishing his experience within the Maui Police Department, there was a motion to suppress statements made by Capobianco during an Feb. 12, 2014 interview with Detective Loo.
Judge Joseph Cardoza said he was satisfied that a statement relating to a polygraph test was given voluntarily by the defendant and said there was no need for a warning of Miranda Rights. He ruled that the information can be presented to the jury.
During testimony, the defense established that Sgt. Loo is a 28-year veteran of the Maui Police Department with about 13 years of service in the Criminal Investigation Division.
While his current assignment is with Kihei Patrol, Sgt. Loo was assigned as the lead detective in the Charli Scott Missing Person case on Feb. 11, 2014, when he was still serving as a CID detective.
Under department protocol, the case originated in Patrol where an officer documented the case and filed a report. According to Sgt. Loo, that report typically includes: checks to see if the person was last seen; what they were last wearing; any drug use, mental health issues; information on areas they hang out and who they hang out with; making sure the individual is not a patient at the hospital, an inmate at MCCC, or in custody.
“They’re the primary as far as taking the report,” said Sgt. Loo. “Protocol is they prepare the report, if all checks come out negative, they notify the CID lieutenant,” said Sgt. Loo.
Sgt. Loo testified that he called the defendant on Feb. 11, 2014 to find out more background information on Charli Scott. According to Sgt. Loo’s testimony, Capobianco said he was unable to meet on that day because he was “driving out to the Hāna area to make checks for Charli and to meet up with the family.”
Sgt. Loo testified that Capobianco offered to meet at the Wailuku Station the following morning and under cross exam stated that Capobianco was not considered a suspect at the time of the interview.