A UBS employee accused of manslaughter in the killing of a hotel employee in Anguilla failed to return for a court hearing on the island, according to news reports.
In April, authorities in Anguilla charged Scott Hapgood in the killing of 27-year-old Kenneth Mitchel in the Malliouhana Hotel but released him on $74,000 bail to return home to Connecticut. Hapgood and his family claim he had acted in self-defense.
Hapgood, who’s currently on leave from UBS, appeared for a scheduled hearing in Anguilla on Aug. 22 but didn’t show for up for the hearing scheduled for this Monday, according to CNBC.com.
Jamie Diaferia, a spokesperson for Hapgood, tells the TV news channel’s website that Hapgood is “not going back” because local authorities “will not give him a fair trial or guarantee his safety,” adding that Hapgood has received death threats. Diaferia tells CNBC that leading up to the hearing the authorities declined to guarantee Hapgood’s protection and his return to the U.S. on bail after the hearing. They also declined the offer for Hapgood to appear at the hearing via a video link, Diaferia tells the website.
Hapgood’s international lawyer, Juliya Arbisman, tells CNBC that he’s not “running from a trial.”
“There is nothing Scott wants more than to clear his name and get his life back,” she tells the news organization. “But he cannot clear his name if he is dead or if the legal process by which he is bound is fundamentally biased and unjust.”
The coroner originally ruled that Mitchel’s death was a result of asphyxiation after his struggle with Hapgood, who was a defensive end on Dartmouth College’s football team, CNBC.com writes. But following toxicology reports, the same coroner then revised the report, saying the amount of cocaine in Mitchel’s bloodstream was lethal and that he would have died regardless, the New York Times reported in October.
President Donald Trump, following a segment on Hapgood’s case on the Fox News show “Fox and Friends,” tweeted on Oct. 14 that he would be looking “into the Scott Hapgood case, and the Island of Anguilla. Something looks and sounds very wrong. I know Anguilla will want to see this case be properly and justly resolved,” according to CNBC. The White House didn’t provide comment to CNBC on Hapgood skipping the hearing.