Darien man accused of killing Anguilla worker says he's 'hanging on by a thread'
A Darien man accused of killing a hotel worker while on vacation in Anguilla says the past four months have been a trying time for him and his family.
Scott Hapgood made his first public appearance with his attorney in Manhattan Tuesday. He says his life changed on April 13 when Kenny Mitchel, a maintenance worker for the hotel, allegedly entered his hotel room uninvited and attacked him.
"We're hanging on by a thread, to be honest with you," said Hapgood. "It's been -- it was a terrifying incident. It was a terrifying experience on the island post arrest."
The 27-year-old worker died as a result. His autopsy shows he was beaten and choked. Hapgood maintains he acted in self-defense.
Mitchel was free on bail for a rape charge filed by the mother of his child at time of the attack, a spokesperson says. The toxicology report revealed a lethal mix of cocaine, cannabis, alcohol and other substances in Mitchel's system.The spokesperson says the toxicology report was suppressed for months while the prosecution on the island is still scrambling to justify the case.
Hapgood's international attorney called into question Tuesday Hapgood's ability to get a fair trial in Anguilla. She pointed to prosecutors withholding Mitchel's toxicology report for two months.
"Mr. Kenny Mitchel was not only drunk, with a blood alcohol level that is double the legal limit in the U.S., but also high on cocaine and other drugs when he attacked Scott," said Juliya Arbisam.
Hapgood and Arbisam talked about the legal process at a news conference Tuesday after they made their first trip back to the island since the attack. They say they've faced threats. They also say asking Hapgood to return two more times this week is unreasonable. Prosecutors denied their request to appear via video.
Hapgood says he will respect the legal process and hopes to clear his name.
"I think that the truth will come out and I look forward to that," Hapgood said.
Hapgood is due back in court in Anguilla on Aug. 22.