US

Not guilty plea in murder of pregnant Maui woman

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — The ex-boyfriend of a Maui woman who was five months pregnant when she disappeared pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge in her death.

Steven Capobianco is accused of killing Carly Scott and burning her vehicle to cover up the murder. A Maui grand jury indicted him last week on charges of second-degree murder and third-degree arson. The 24-year-old appeared at his arraignment Tuesday wearing a neck brace, orange jumpsuit and sporting a full beard.

Scott's relatives and friends sat in the courtroom gallery's front row. Some wore T-shirts with "Justice for Charli & Joshua" on the back, for Scott's nickname and the name she planned to give her son.

They declined to comment after the brief hearing, where no details about what happened to Scott were revealed. First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera also declined to comment after the hearing, saying his office is still in the process of filing motions in the case.

He asked in court that Capobianco not be allowed to contact Scott's family, directly or indirectly, "especially through social media, as well." A jury trial date was set for Oct. 6, with a pretrial conference on Sept. 3.

Scott, 27, was five months pregnant with Capobianco's child when she disappeared. Hawaii law doesn't consider a fetus a person for purposes of homicide charges, said University of Hawaii criminal law professor Kenneth Lawson.

Capobianco was served with an arrest warrant Monday at Maui Community Correctional Center, where he has been held since last month in an unrelated case, a spokeswoman for the state judiciary said. Capobianco injured his neck when he was mistaken for another inmate and assaulted at the jail on Saturday, said Toni Schwartz, spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety. He was treated for his injury and police are investigating the assault, she said.

Family members last saw Scott in February at her sister's home in Haiku. The Makawao woman's burned 1997 Toyota 4Runner was later found on the island's north shore. According to a copy of the indictment obtained by The Associated Press, Capobianco caused Scott's death "in an especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel manner, manifesting exceptional depravity" in mid-February.

Before the burnt-out SUV was found, police discovered Scott's dog in the nearby community of Nahiku. Capobianco has told Hawaii News Now that he saw Scott on the night her family says she vanished, but he had nothing to do with her disappearance.

He said Scott picked him up and drove him to his pickup truck, which had broken down in Keanae. He said that after he fixed his truck, Scott was driving behind him, but he lost sight of her and figured she arrived safely at her destination.

The bench warrant set bail at $2 million for the murder and arson charges. __ Associated Press Writer Jennifer Sinco Kelleher contributed to this report.

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