U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Sen. Chris Murphy and five other colleagues have written Secretary of State Michael Pompeo “to express our concerns for the safety and fair treatment” of Gavin Hapgood, the Darien man charged with manslaughter in Anguilla.
Hapgood faces a Nov. 11 hearing in Anguilla and the letter notes that “the Hapgood family is very concerned about Mr. Hapgood’s safety when he returns.”
“We request the State Department do everything in its power to ensure that Mr. Hapgood’s safety is secured while traveling to and from Anguilla and during his stay on the island for the inquest,'' the letter states. “We strongly urge the State Department to obtain from the British Government its ironclad guaranty of Mr. Hapgood’s safety and security during his stay in Anguilla.”
In addition to Blumenthal and Murphy, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-KS, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, Sen. Robert Casey, D-CA, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes signed the letter. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump offered his support for Hapgood in a tweet.
The charges emerged following an altercation in mid-April between Hapgood, 44, and Kenny Mitchel, 27, at the Malliouhana Resort, where Hapgood was vacationing with his wife Kallie Hapgood and their three children. Mitchel arrived at Hapgood’s suite to fix a sink, although the Hapgoods have said they did not call for a repair and the sink was not broken. Hapgood alleges that Mitchel attacked him as soon as he was let into the room and that Hapgood fought back to defend himself and his two daughters, who were also present.
The Hapgood family, in a statement released Tuesday evening, said they “remain grateful" for the support. "Although we are all concerned about Scott’s safety in Anguilla, it is reassuring to have our government behind us in such a public and steadfast way.”
The Nov. 11 hearing is expected to be the conclusion of the case’s preliminary inquest, according to Hapgood’s attorney Juliya Arbisman. She added that the proceeding would be heard before a magistrate, with only the prosecution and defense teams present in the courtroom.