Anguillan authorities seek arrest warrant for Darien man who skipped court due to safety concernsPosted: Updated:
Anguillan authorities said Tuesday they are preparing an arrest warrant for the Darien man accused of killing a hotel worker on the island.
The warrant would be circulated worldwide to bring Scott Hapgood back to the island where he is facing a manslaughter charge.
Hapgood is accused in the death of Kenny Mitchel, a handyman at the five-star resort where the Hapgood family vacationed in April.
Hapgood had returned to the island for previous court hearings but didn't attend his latest appearance Monday. His spokesperson cited concerns about his safety and ability to get a fair legal proceeding.
Anguillan Attorney General Dwight Horsford disputed that Tuesday saying, "Both claims are totally groundless." He added, "Other formal processes will now commence regarding Hapgood who is now a fugitive."
News 12 spoke with criminal defense attorney Philip Russell, who is not connected to this matter but has defended extradition cases. Russell says since Anguilla is a British territory, he believes that warrant would be extraditable.
"However, there'd be procedural safeguards as to due process, trial rights, the right to bail that might be imposed by the process of extradition," said Russell.
Hapgood has maintained what happened was self-defense, after Mitchel tried to rob him, leading to a violent struggle.
It has sparked outrage on the island and allegations of racism and favoritism for tourists. Hapgood's attorney says it's led to death threats.
Hapgood's spokesperson had no comment regarding the arrest warrant or the next steps.
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