American man charged with death of resort worker returns to Anguilla

American man in court in Anguilla
American man in court in Anguilla 05:22

Anguilla — A Connecticut man accused of killing a hotel worker in Anguilla returned to the island for a court appearance Thursday. Scott Hapgood arrived at the preliminary hearing amidst unprecedented security and attention, eager for a trial where he says his innocence will be proven.

"Every court appearance means we're one step closer to putting this nightmare behind us," he said.

The 44-year-old financial advisor was on vacation with his family at a luxury resort last April when Kenny Mitchel, an employee, came to their room. 

What happened next is unclear. But a violent struggle ended with Mitchel's death and Hapgood bloody and bruised. Hapgood was charged with manslaughter.  

Scott Hapgood with his wife and children courtesy Hapgood family

A toxicology report shows that Mitchel had a high level of alcohol and mix of drugs including cocaine in his system. The victim's family denies use of cocaine. CBS News spoke to his older brother, Marshall Mitchel.

"As long as he takes on jail, justice is served. Once he takes on jail. Because I mean you take a life. You take a life! You understand?" he said.

This case has truly captivated the British Caribbean territory. But before returning to the U.S., Hapgood left a message for the people of Anguilla. 

"Someday I will be able to tell the real story in a legal setting. The sooner that day comes, the better," he said.

A lawyer for the Mitchel family would not speak with CBS News. The attorney general in Anguilla is encouraging people not to talk about the case. The next preliminary hearing is set for September 9th and expected to last five days.