A bench warrant has been issued for the arrest of Scott Hapgood, the Connecticut man charged in the death of a hotel worker who he claims attacked his family while vacationing in Anguilla earlier this year.
Hapgood has now been labeled a fugitive after he failed to show up for court on Monday.
Hapgood, a 44-year-old banker from Darien, was scheduled to appear in court in the British Caribbean territory for his latest pretrial hearing, per bail conditions, Anguilla’s Attorney General Dwight Horsford said in a press release Tuesday.
SCOTT HAPGOOD, ACCUSED OF KILLING HOTEL WORKER IN ANGUILLA, SAYS HE’D ‘DO IT AGAIN’
A spokesperson for Hapgood’s family said Anguilla officials rejected an offer for Hapgood to appear by video link for the hearing.
On Sunday, his legal team told the magistrate they advised the man against returning to Anguilla, citing concerns about his safety in light of death threats and “the fairness of the judicial process in Anguilla” — issues which the office said “are totally groundless.”
The Anguillan governor, Tim Foy, said separately that Hapgood “has no reason to doubt the fairness of the judicial process” as “the rule of law and respect for it are paramount in this territory, as in all constituent jurisdictions of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.”
CONNECTICUT MAN ACCUSED OF KILLING HOTEL WORKER PLEADS FOR SAFETY UPON RETURN TO ISLAND
Hapgood was charged with killing Kenny Mitchel, a 27-year-old hotel worker, during his family vacation to Anguilla in April. Hapgood and his family claim Mitchel, of Dominica, showed up at their hotel room unannounced and demanded money before attacking them. A struggle ensued and Mitchel died. Hapgood was charged with manslaughter.
An autopsy determined Mitchel died of positional asphyxia and received blunt force injuries to his torso and other areas. Hapgood’s spokesperson, Jamie Diaferia, claims a toxicology report was suppressed and that Mitchel was found to have drugs, including cocaine, in his system.
Hapgood has appeared at previous hearings and has been released on a $74,000 bond. The attorney general said Tuesday that bond has been forfeited.
The manslaughter case has sparked racial tensions and outraged residents on the island, which is known to cater to wealthy tourists, who demanded justice for Mitchel.
President Trump tweeted in October he “will be looking into the Scott Hapgood case, and the Island of Anguilla. Something looks and sounds very wrong. I know Anguilla will want to see this case be properly and justly resolved!”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called on Anguilla officials while at a rally in Darien last month to provide reassurance that Hapgood would be kept safe and allowed to remain free on bond.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.