Sen. Blumenthal backs Darien man charged with manslaughter of Anguilla hotel worker

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal advocated Monday for the safety of a Darien man charged with manslaughter in the death of an Anguilla hotel worker.

The senator spoke during a press conference at Darien Town Hall to push for safe passage for Scott Hapgood, as well as fair and transparent legal proceedings -- something he says Hapgood has not gotten so far.

Dozens of friends, family and community members also stood with the Hapgood family Monday, with many holding signs of support.

Hapgood was charged with manslaughter in the death of hotel worker Kenny Mitchel in April while on a family vacation in Anguilla. His family has said Hapgood was defending himself and his children after Mitchel came into their hotel room, pulled a knife and tried to rob them.

Toxicology tests revealed Mitchel had drugs and alcohol in his system. A preliminary autopsy determined he was choked and beaten to death. But the New York Times reported a revised autopsy ruled Mitchel died from a lethal dose of cocaine, not injuries from the fight.

"We are still in shock that a simple vacation that we looked forward to for so long turned into a nightmare," said Hapgood. "All we wanted to do was vacation as a family. This nightmare is my new reality."

Blumenthal said he has been in touch with the White House about the case. He says he has written to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to work with the UK to protect Hapgood and ensure a fair trial.

Hapgood thanked his supporters Monday for giving him hope during this time.

"The support gives my family strength as we deal with this ordeal," he said.

Hapgood will return to Anguilla for what is expected to be his final hearing in the preliminary inquest on Nov. 11. His lawyer says after that will come a decision on whether to take this case to trial.

NYT: Anguilla hotel worker had lethal level of cocaine in system when he died 
Darien man charged with killing hotel worker asks Caribbean prosecutors to bring case to trial Friend of Darien man accused of killing hotel worker says he was defending himself Spokesperson for Darien financial adviser: Anguillian hotel worker 'attacked man without warning' 

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