How a carnage in a Caribbean resort became an international incident

Two men fought in a desperate fight last April inside a suite at a tropical resort in Anguilla, and only one of them would come out alive.

But what began as an individual encounter without witnesses has become an international dispute over whether the survivor, an American banker, should have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Officials, lawyers and legislators. in the United States they face not only against the authorities in Anguilla, a Caribbean island of some 15,000 people, but also against Great Britain, of which it is a territory.

While the outcome of the case is far from predictable, the current confrontation could lead to extradition proceedings against the accused American in the case, Gavin Scott Hapgood, an investment banker in Darien, Connecticut.

Tensions behind the scenes came to light this month when Mr. Hapgood did not appear at a court hearing in Anguilla, citing concerns about his safety and the possibility that his bond could be revoked.


"This was a very difficult decision for the family," said Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut in an interview. "They had to assess all personal risks and uncertainties." He and other lawmakers, including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, signed a letter to the State Department on November 4 to express concern about the case.

Mr. Hapgood's refusal to attend the hearing was immediately criticized by officials in Anguilla, and his attorney general, prime minister and governor spoke out.

The governor, Tim Foy, described Hapgood's concerns about his safety as "unfounded."

"I invite those who make or repeat these fabrications, including those in public office, to familiarize themselves with the events by visiting us," Foy said in a statement, praising the "peace, serenity and calm,quot; of the island.

Anguilla Attorney General Dwight D. Horsford said in a statement that his office was looking for an arrest warrant for Mr. Hapgood and he would distribute it through Interpol, the international police organization, which would effectively make him a wanted man in much of the world. The state of that development and the probability of an international order were not clear this week.

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