Photo: Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press
Family members of the hotel staff member allegedly killed by USB trader and Darien resident Gavin Scott Hapgood said they want to see Hapgood behind bars, according to the New York Post.
Kenny Mitchel, a worker at the Malliouhana Resort in Anguilla, died April 13 during a struggle with Hapgood. Police on the Caribbean island charged 44-year-old Hapgood with manslaughter.
Marshal Mitchel, the half-brother of Kenny Mitchel spoke to a group of reporters outside an Anguilla courthouse on Thursday, saying the family wants justice.
“As long as he (gets) jail, justice is served,” Marshall Mitchel said, according to the New York Post. “He (Hapgood) had enough time to let go of my brother. He needs to understand he (took) a life.”
But it wasn’t just family coming to Kenny Mitchel’s defense. Haydn Hughes, the former parliamentary secretary for tourism, disputed Hapgood’s self-defense claim.
“We have seen how cases in the past have been dealt with here in Anguilla and we’ve never seen a duration where someone isn’t arrested for days and enjoys the rest of his vacation at the Four Seasons,” Hughes said, according to the New York Post. “No way this was self defense.”
Mitchel was described as a “strong, loving and kind-hearted person,” by someone who claimed to be a family member. Earlier this year, a GoFundMe page created for his family garnered $3,490. The creator of the page said Hapgood asked Mitchel to come to his family’s hotel room.
Hapgood returned to the British Overseas Territory this week for scheduled hearings connected to the case. A hearing was held Thursday morning, but was closed to the public.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to appear in Anguilla court today because every court appearance means we’re one step closer to putting this nightmare behind us — a nightmare for my family but also for the people of Anguilla,” Hapgood told reporters outside the courthouse. “We all want the same thing — justice. For me, that means proving my innocence and at that end, I ask the attorney general to bring a case swiftly so we all can move on and heal. We’ll continue to be trapped by delays when all we want is to present the evidence that will prove my innocence.”
After making his statement, he did not take questions, the New York Post reported.
Hapgood is currently on administrative leave from UBS.
Thursday’s hearing and the statement from Kenny Mitchel’s family member comes just two days after Hapgood spoke publicly about the incident for the first time.
Hapgood spoke to a room of reporters in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday, briefly speaking about the violent struggle that ensued while he was on vacation with his family in the Caribbean.
“We want the same thing as the people of Anguilla, for the truth to come out,” Hapgood said on Tuesday.
A toxicology report released last week revealed Kenny Mitchel tested positive for cocaine, Delta-9 THC — the active substance in marijuana — and other drugs. It also showed that Mitchel had a blood alcohol content level of .181, more than double the legal limit in the United States and the United Kingdom, where the legal limit is .08.
“The toxicology report confirms that Scott Hapgood had no choice but to defend himself and his children from the frenzied attack of a man under the influence of a dangerous combination of illegal drugs and alcohol,” said Hapgood’s attorney, Juliya Arbisman, in a prepared statement on Monday.
The Hapgood family has said the Darien mad was forced to defend himself and his children — ages 9, 12 and 14 — after Mitchel came to their hotel room to fix a bathroom sink. Hapgood maintained that the sink wasn’t broken and no one called for a worker.
The family has accused Mitchel of pulling out a knife, leading to the violent struggle.
A death certificate said Mitchel died “due to prone restraint, positional asphyxia and blunt force trauma to the head, neck and torso,” according to the New York Post.
Following the news of Hapgood’s arrest back in April, residents of the Caribbean island were outraged he was allowed to return to Connecticut after being charged in connection with Mitchel’s death.