The white American tourist accused of killing a resort maintenance man in Anguilla released a photo showing the immediate moment after the incident.
In addition to the photo, Gavin Scott Hapgood of Connecticut, who works as a banker for UBS, released a lengthy statement on May 2 claiming his injuries were from self-defense. In the photo, Hapgood is shown with a bloodied and bruised face, which he said he sustained while defending himself and his family.
Hapgood has been charged with manslaughter by Anguillan authorities in connection to the murder of staff member Kenny Mitchel. The killing took place at the luxury Malliouhana resort on April 13 in Hapgood’s room.
The coroner’s report listed Mitchel’s causes of death as prone restraint, positional asphyxia and blunt force trauma to the head, neck, and torso.
After news of the killing first broke, rumors and speculation surrounding the case were posted to the Royal Anguilla Police Force’s Facebook page.
The case also drew outrage from island locals who believe Hapgood should not have been allowed to return home to the U.S. while he awaits trial.
Additionally, anonymous sources told The Root that a security guard at the resort witnessed Hapwood choke Mitchel to death. The witness also claimed Hapgood’s children and his wife, Kallie Hapgood, were in the room. The Root also reports witnesses alleged Kallie filmed the incident on her phone.
However, attorneys for the Darien banker claimed in the statement that his wife was never present.
"Neither Scott nor any member of our family made any call for a maintenance request to our hotel room on April 13, 2019, or at any time prior.
"Neither Scott nor any member of our family knew the attacker before April 13, 2019, when he came to our room, dressed in the hotel's uniform. The attacker arrived minutes after our minor daughters walked back to the hotel room on their own. The man knocked on the door, saying he was there to fix a broken sink. Scott indicated the sinks were not broken as far as he was aware, but that the man was free to have a look. Like any of us would, he trusted a hotel staff person in uniform.
"Neither Scott nor any member of our family had any conversations with the attacker at any time prior to him coming to the hotel room on April 13, 2019.
"During the attack, Scott did not choke the attacker. Scott himself sustained severe injuries as a result of the physical struggle which ensued. Scott was literally fighting for his life. He was bitten multiple times by the attacker, including on his face. After the attacker was restrained by a security guard, and before Scott was taken to the hospital to receive medical treatment for his injuries, we took the included photo.
"Scott's wife was not present in the room at the time of the attack on Scott and his minor children.
"Scott's wife did not film the attack on Scott and his minor daughters. When she arrived, she was focused on the safety of her children and husband."
Although Hapgood says he was the victim of an alleged armed robbery, Mitchel’s family says there is no way the resort worker would have attempted such a crime.
“Everyone on the island can vouch for him,” Haydn Hughes, a former parliamentary secretary of tourism and a local radio host, told website The Root. “He is a hard worker; he did a lot of jobs at the hotel, he comes from a very good family, his father has a stellar record, brother has an unblemished record … So, nobody can say that he was the type of person who would try to rip off someone or try to steal.”
Mitchel’s brother Kimon Mitchel also told NBC News: “He would never try something that dumb. Even if it was possible, he would not. … It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t add up.”
(Photo: Kelcey Kinter via RedBanyan)