UBS banker 'at peace' with skipping Anguilla court date
Authorities there classified him as a fugitive and issued an arrest warrant after the no-show
The UBS banker accused of killing a hotel worker in the Caribbean island of Anguilla is reported "at peace" after skipping a court date there on Monday.
Scott Hapgood, 44, was charged in connection to the April manslaughter of 27-year-old Anguilla native Kenny Mitchel, and has remained at his Darien, Connecticut, home ever since posting bail. Anguillan authorities classified Hapgood as a fugitive after he opted not to attend his court hearing in the British Overseas Territory, where a judge was set to determine whether or not the case would go to trial, officials announced Tuesday.
Hapgood maintains that he acted in self-defense, and a revised autopsy found that Mitchel's cause of death may have been "acute cocaine toxicity."
Hapgood's wife, Kallie, told the New York Post that her husband is "at peace" with the decision to skip the court appearance, where she said he likely could have been jailed for "two years (waiting) for trial to begin."
"As stressful as the past week has been, we are happy we followed the advice of our legal counsel and confident we made the right decision for Scott and our family," Kallie Hapgood told the newspaper.
"Anguillan officials also told us throughout this process they could not guarantee Scott’s safety, which is not surprising considering the threats we've received on social media and the taunts of prisoners in jail that they planned to 'bash his head in,'" she added.
Hapgood told Anguillan authorities that the hotel worker broke into his room at the Malliouhana resort and attempted to rob him at knifepoint.
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An autopsy showed Mitchel died of positional asphyxia and received blunt force injuries to his torso and other areas. Hapgood's legal spokesperson, Jamie Diaferia, had previously said a toxicology report was suppressed and Mitchel was found to have had drugs, including cocaine, in his system.
Photos of Hapgood taken after the deadly encounter with Mitchel show numerous wounds on his face and body.
Meanwhile, Anguilla Attorney General Dwight Horsford issued a bench warrant for Hapgood's arrest following his missed court date.
"A bench warrant will be sought from the High Court Judge for his arrest," Horsford said. "When this is shortly obtained this will be circulated through Interpol to police forces around the world."
The U.S. does have an extradition agreement with the Caribbean island nation by way of the U.K., however, the U.S. will ultimately have to agree to sign the arrest warrant. The U.S. has yet to deny a single extradition request with the U.K. since a treaty was signed in 2003.
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According to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in the U.K. website, "The UK submitted 54 extradition REQUESTS to the US, of which none have been refused. Of those 54 requests, 38 resulted in extradition of an individual from the U.S. to the UK. In the remaining 16 cases, the individuals either returned to the UK on their own or other circumstances made extradition from the U.S. to the UK no longer necessary."
With Hapgood's extradition fate hanging in the balance, those who will ultimately sign off on any international arrest warrant are well aware of the case, with State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus telling "FOX & Friends" on Sunday the agency is monitoring the situation closely.
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"We are watching this case very closely, and again, the safety and security of Americans is something we are pursuing at the State Department," Ortagus said.
President Trump tweeted last month that his administration "will be looking" into the case.