NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Darien, Connecticut, father accused of killing a hotel employee in the Caribbean is hoping to clear his name.
It happened on April 13.
“Since that day, we’ve been living a nightmare that has gradually become a reality,” Hapgood said Tuesday. “My wife, my children, we wake up with it. We live in it. We swim in it. We breathe it every day.”
Scott Hapgood News Conference, Aug. 20, 2019
The family was staying at the upscale Malliouhana resort. Hapgood’s spokesperson says Mitchel, a maintenance worker, showed up at their room in uniform, claiming he was there to fix a sink, but instead, he allegedly became violent, demanding money.
Anguilla police say Hapgood beat and choked Mitchel.
“All that I did was defend my young daughters in front of an attacker that was crazed and desperate, and I have to just hold onto that fact. I would do it again, and thank God I was in the room when he came,” Hapgood said.
Mitchel’s autopsy confirmed he was beaten and choked to death.
During a news conference in Midtown on Tuesday, Hapgood’s attorney, Juliya Arbisman, expressed doubt he’d get a fair trial in Anguilla. She says the island’s Attorney General only recently released a toxicology report it held onto for two months.
The report showed Mitchel had cocaine, cannabis and other drugs in his system, and his blood alcohol content was double the legal U.S. limit.
He was also facing rape charges in the weeks leading up to the attack.
“During those months that the report has been withheld, the AG has allowed a portrait of Mr. Mitchel to persist in the media that is at odds with what is now know to be true,” Arbisman said.
Mitchel’s mother says the hotel worker was a gentle, loving father, not a violent criminal.
“I am just praying and hoping that my child gets justice, no matter what,” she said.
Hapgood was charged with manslaughter but released from jail on $74,000 bail.
He says since his return home, he’s received threats to his life.
“It’s consistent. It’s racist. It’s ugly. It’s terrifying,” Hapgood said.
Hapgood is hopeful, though, that he’ll soon clear his name.
“We look forward to a lot of evidence that hasn’t yet been made public getting to the public. I think it will have an immediate and dramatic impact on people’s sentiment towards this incident,” Hapgood said.
As part of his bond agreement, Hapgood is required to make three pretrial court appearances in Anguilla this week. He flew there and back Monday, despite police warning it’s unsafe for him to be there.
A judge denied his request to make video appearances instead.