For the first time, we’re hearing from someone who said he witnessed part of the deadly confrontation between a Connecticut man and a worker at a Caribbean resort. Scott Hapgood faces manslaughter charges for the death of hotel worker Kenny Mitchel.
Geshaune Clarke, a bellman at Anguilla’s Malliouhana Resort, said he was the first people to find Hapgood restraining Mitchel on the floor of his hotel bathroom on April 13. His version of events is at odds Hapgood’s telling of the story, and it’s raising new questions about what exactly happened in Hapgood’s hotel room.
“I cannot say what happened initially. I only came there for the aftermath,” Clarke told CBS News’ Errol Barnett. “I saw Kenny on his back and Mr. Hapgood over Kenny.”
Clarke said he saw Hapgood’s forearm on Mitchel’s neck and was told he came after Hapgood with a knife asking for money. Clarke said he told Hapgood to give Mitchel “proper breathing and space.” At one point, according to Clarke, Mitchel tried responding.
“He said, ‘Can I speak?’ Then, in that same position, Mr. Hapgood came, looked down at him and say, ‘You don’t have a f****** thing to say,'” Clarke said.
Clarke said he and his security manager tried to intervene, but Hapgood refused for roughly 30 minutes.
“He stated that he would not move, he would not get up. He would not do anything until police is present,” Clarke said.
Clarke also said Hapgood’s wife came in the room after he did and recorded part of the encounter on her phone. Clarke said he knows Hapgood’s wife was taking a video, not photos, because he saw her press the record button.
An autopsy report shows Mitchel died by “positional asphyxia.” A toxicology report also shows he had drugs and alcohol in his system. Hapgood’s family said Hapgood was bitten and stabbed, but Clarke said the knife Mitchel was allegedly carrying didn’t have any blood on it.
Outside the Anguilla courthouse following Thursday’s hearing, Mitchel’s brother Marshal demanded justice, saying, “As long as he takes on jail, justice is served … You take a life! You understand?”
Hapgood – who was vacationing in Anguilla with his family in April – said he’s eager for a trial where he said his innocence will be proven.
“Someday I will be able to tell the real story in a legal setting. The sooner that day comes, the better,” Hapgood said.
A representative for the Hapgoods said they deny most of Clarke’s account – except for the delay in releasing Mitchel. Hapgood said through his representatives he was afraid the hotel staff who offered to help were part of a plan to attack him and he didn’t trust them.
The next hearing in this case begins September 9.