Ex-Girlfriend: Capobianco ‘Hated Kids’
Ex-Girlfriend Testifies: Capobianco ‘Hated kids’
A former girlfriend took the stand on Monday and Tuesday in the ongoing murder trial of Steven Capobianco. Taylor Farner, Capobianco’s ex-girlfriend testified that she dated the defendant for a two-to-three month period in 2013, prior to Charli Scott’s disappearance.
Capobianco is accused of killing Scott who was five months pregnant with their child, and setting her vehicle on fire. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Farner, who is now 21, said she met the defendant through his cousin who was her best friend at the time. After Farner graduated from high school, she said she began dating the defendant.
During testimony, Farner said the defendant expressed to her that he wanted to be sure that if she got pregnant that it would end in an abortion. When prosecuting attorney Robert Rivera asked Farner how the defendant felt about children, she responded, “He said he hated kids.”
Vehicle Stalls with Former Girlfriend on Hāna Hwy
Farner was also questioned about an encounter with the defendant in which she received a text message from Capobianco on his birthday in October of 2013.
“He wanted to hang out and asked if I could wear something sexy,” said Farner. She said Capobianco picked her up in his white truck at her house in Makawao that evening, with plans to drive out to Honomanū.
When asked about the vehicle, Farner said, “He always drove that truck pretty much every day when he hung out… He didn’t say it was his, but I assumed it was,” she said.
Farner testified that the vehicle got stuck that night saying, “I don’t remember what happened if it broke down, but it stopped working for some reason.”
She said the incident happened on the side of the Hāna Highway between Honomanū and Nāhiku, headed in the Hāna bound direction.
“We found a spot to pull over on the side of the road and we were facing the ocean, but still going in the Hāna direction,” she said.
Farner testified that Capobianco tried to call his friend, but there was no answer, and recalled the defendant telling her, “He would rather sleep in his struck than leave it anywhere near Hāna.” She said he was afraid the truck would get stolen if it were left on the side of the road.
Farner said she fell asleep for three to four hours until Capobianco got a call back from his friend who drove out in the early morning hours to help. According to testimony, the defendant and his friend worked on the truck before sunrise and were eventually able to get the vehicle working again.
In Scott’s disappearance, Capobianco told detectives that his vehicle stalled along the Hāna Highway on Feb. 9, 2014, but that he left it there because he had to get to work the next day.
He told police that Scott picked him up and drove him out to where his truck was. She was reported missing the next day by family members.
Scott’s clothing and personal belongings were found at Nuaʻailua Bay, and her burned vehicle was found at Peʻahi.
Superbowl 2014: Defendant Seen with New 4Runner
Farner testified that she saw the defendant with a new vehicle, a white 4Runner, during the Superbowl in 2014.
She had invited her friend over, who is cousins with the defendant, and Capobianco showed up.
During that visit, she went for a ride with the defendant and returned home afterwards. Farner was asked to identify Capobianco’s truck and 4Runner in photos entered into evidence in court on Tuesday.
Meeting at Hanzawa’s: Defendant Looked ‘Irritated’
Farner testified that she had tried to make contact with Capobianco on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, but said the defendant was not able to make contact immediately. “He just said he had something to take care of,” said Farner.
The date is significant because that’s the same night that Charli drove Capobianco out past Keʻanae to retrieve his stalled 4Runner, according to his account to police.
Farner said it was into the early morning hours of Feb. 10, 2014, when the defendant finally contacted her in a text.
In a May 8, 2014 interview, police had questioned Farner about some 90 attempts to reach Capobianco on her phone.
When defense attorney Jon Apo asked Farner about the attempts she said, “I remember thinking okay, he’s not going to answer me, so I’m going to blow him up,” said Farner.
While she initially told police she did not see Capobianco on that day, she said the mention of multiple attempts to reach him jogged her memory. “I didn’t know why we would talk that much, and then I remembered oh yeah, I saw him.”
Farner testified that she was trying to get into contact with Capobianco because she and her friend, “wanted to get Molly from him.” When she was asked to explain, she described Molly as MDMA or Extacy. “It’s like a party drug I would say it makes you happy and want to dance,” she said.
The line of questioning was followed by a bench conference and a subsequent ruling by the court to strike from the record testimony concerning the reason Farner was trying to call the defendant and her explanation of the drug.
Farner said she was in Makawao at a friend’s house, and agreed to meet Capobianco at Hanzawa’s Store. According to Farner’s testimony, her friend drove and the two arrived at Hanzawa’s between midnight and 2 a.m.
She said the defendant arrived in his white truck, the same truck that got stuck on the Hāna Highway in October of 2013. According to Farner, he was wearing dark blue, what appeared to be jeans, and a black t-shirt.
When she saw defendant pull up, she got out of the vehicle she was in and walked over to Capobianco’s truck.
“It was just Steven, and in the front passenger seat was his dog, Chunk. I immediately ran and put my body halfway in the truck and hugged Chunk,” said Farner.
When asked if she talked to Capobianco, Farner said, “He kind of backed away and I got the sense to not to. He went to the opposite side of me and I could sense that he wanted space.”
Farner said Capobianco looked, “stern, irritated” and “kind of pissed off.”
Farner said she also recalled asking the defendant about his 4Runner and said he told her that it was broken down at his house.
Farner Finds Out Charli is Missing
Farner testified that she didn’t know Charli Scott personally, but had asked about her, and learned that she was an ex-girlfriend of the defendant’s.
She said she first found out that Charli went missing in a phone conversation on Feb. 11, 2014, with Capobianco’s cousin, who was her best friend at the time.
“She was hysterical and crying. She could barely get any words out,” said Farner.
About a week later the two made contact again, and Capobianco arrived with his cousin at Farner’s house. He was driving his 4Runner and the three stopped at the Hideaway restaurant in Kahului so that Capobianco’s cousin could use the bathroom.
While Farner was alone in the vehicle with the defendant, she asked him if he was a suspect or the only suspect in the case involving Charli Scott.
Farner said he responded saying, “It was him and one other person, her landlord; but he didn’t even think he (the landlord) knew she was missing at that point, so yeah just him.”
When Farner was asked to describe Capobianco’s face, she said, “He was proud. No concern.”
The defense objected to the use of the term “proud” and the word was stricken from the record.
Defense attorney Jon Apo questioned Farner on cross exam saying, “Is it fair to say that by May 8, 2014, the day you had your interview (with police), you personally were already convinced that Steven was guilty of something; had done something to Charli?”
Farner responded saying, “I didn’t want to be, but inside, yes.”
During cross exam, Farner was also asked about Charli Scott’s family. While she did not know any of Charli Scott’s family prior to the disappearance, Farner said she now considers Scott’s younger half-sister Phaedra Wais her best friend.
Defense Seeks Mistrial Ruling, Judge Denies Motion
Also on Tuesday, Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza denied the defense’s motion for mistrial. The defense had sought a ruling to dismiss with prejudice based on three separate pieces of information that surfaced during the trial.
One item related to an audio recording that was played earlier in the trial concerning contact between the defendant and Charli Scott’s sister Fiona. Judge Cardoza said the audio was initially redacted to exclude that information, but there was a last minute request by the defense to redact a separate portion of the recording. When the audio was played for jurors, the wrong redacted version was used and the reference to Fiona remained.
“In all fairness you need to bring that up because that is what occurred. They did not have it in the wings in hiding to present to the jury. The defense made a last minute request. They agreed to do it. It was done in haste and that was a product of it,” said Judge Cardoza. He said the mistake was in his view, “clearly an innocent error.”
The second item, related to Farner’s response to a question in which she was asked to describe Capobianco’s face when he acknowledged that he was a suspect in the missing person case involving Charli Scott. Farner used the words “proud” and “no concern.”
“I prohibited the followup question by the detective, in a recorded statement in which the detective said ‘Like he was proud…’ and she said ‘Yeah.’ The no concern is not something that the court ordered not to be presented. Rivera (prosecuting attorney) has presented to court that he did instruct the witness not to use that term ‘proud/ and she did use it and she is a very young witness. I did order that stricken,” said Judge Cardoza.
The third item involved testimony concerning the witness’ attempt to reach the defendant to get Molly from him, and her description of it as a party drug.
“I elected that the reference be stricken as to reason of contact and what it meant. In terms of the record,” Judge Cardoza said, “the motion in limine did not specifically deal with this and I do not see it as a violation of a court order.” He said that at this time he will continue to have it stricken, but may have to reconsider.
Trial continues today with juror questions.