Detective undergoes cross-examination in Maui murder trial

Sgt. Wendell Loo during cross-examination by attorney Jon Apo

The murder trial for Steven Capobianco entered its sixth day Wednesday.

The Maui man is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, Carly “Charli” Scott. She was 27 years old and five months pregnant when she went missing in February 2014.

The lead investigator, Sgt. Wendell Loo, has spent the past several days testifying for the prosecution, remaining on the witness stand as audio recordings with Capobianco played for the jury.

On Wednesday, it was the defense’s turn to question Loo, bringing up other possible suspects that police did not look into.

Attorney Jon Apo pointed out inconsistencies in Loo’s testimony, accusing Loo of having answers “fed to him” by prosecutor Robert Rivera.

The session was peppered with numerous objections from the prosecution.

Defense: Let me break this down a little bit more, because all you did at the grand jury was answer yes to Mr. Rivera’s question, right?

Prosecution: Objection. This is punitive. He read it verbatim.

Defense: No, this goes towards the effect of Mr. Rivera leading… (

Prosecution: Objection, Your Honor. This is improper questioning.

Judge: The objection is sustained. The objection is sustained.

Defense: Judge, I have to put something on the record…

Judge: You’ll be given an opportunity.

Defense: …relative to these yelling objections.

Defense: Judge, may we approach — How can I not confront him on his demeanor, his answers to questions?

Judge: Ask him questions about what has happened. Ask him questions about his testimony. Do not characterize it on your own.

Defense: Your Honor, may I please approach the bench?

Judge: No, you may not. Ask your next question.

Defense: How can I not ask whether he’s in cahoots with the prosecutor?

Prosecution: I object.

Apo also suggested Loo failed to explore the possibility that Scott’s death could be the work of a serial killer. He brought up Moreira “Mo” Monsalve, a Maui mother of three who disappeared weeks before Scott. She was last seen in Wailuku in January 2014.

Defense: During the time of your investigation, detective, were there rumors of a serial killer on Maui?

Detective: Yes, sir.

Defense: And you acknowledged them during your investigation, right?

(Silence)

Defense: You acknowledged having known about these rumors at the time you were investigating, right?

Detective: Uh, which case are we talking about?

Defense: This case.

Detective: Yes, sir.

Apo stuck to his defense, saying Loo immediately branded Capobianco “guilty” before looking into other possible witnesses.

The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.

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