Update On American Who Killed Anguilla Hotel Worker

Filed Under: Hotels

I’m not trying to be Nancy Grace here, though there’s a story that I wrote about in April that has stuck with me ever since. It’s a story where just about every week I’ve been Googling to see if there were any updates, since I found the situation to be so strange.

How an Anguilla hotel worker got killed by a guest

On April 13, 2019, a hotel worker at a luxury resort in Anguilla was killed by an American tourist who was a guest at the hotel and who was traveling with his family.

As the situation was explained:

  • The hotel worker showed up at the hotel room around 4PM and said he had to fix a sink, so the occupant let him in (the guest hadn’t called for anyone)
  • The hotel worker demanded money and had a knife, and then violently attacked the family
  • The American was able to restrain the hotel worker, and then several hotel employees showed up; however, he refused to let go (he wasn’t sure if the other hotel employees were in on this as well), and the hotel worker ended up dying while being held down

Let me emphasize that this is all what was alleged to have happened, though just about everyone has been skeptical about the story. I think everyone had a different theory as to what could have gone down here, though suffice to say that the circumstances are absolutely shocking.

This death caused huge uproar in Anguilla. The man was arrested and initially denied bail, but was then released on a $74,000 bond following an appeal. He returned to the US, with a promise to return for his court appearance.

What’s the latest with this case?

There are some interesting updates regarding this case.

First of all, the man’s court appearance is this week, as the case is scheduled for Thursday, August 22, 2019. The police has issued an Osman warning (that they can’t guarantee his safety, given the uproar). So the American is trying to see if he can attend the hearing remotely without returning to the island, given safety concerns.

There are two other interesting updates, though.

First of all, Stamford Advocate reports that the hotel worker tested positive for cocaine, Delta-9 THC (the active substance in marijuana), and other drugs, and had a blood alcohol level of 0.181 (the legal limit for driving in the US is 0.08, so he was more than twice over that limit).

Second of all, the New York Times reports that on March 25 (less than three weeks before this incident), the hotel worker was arrested and charged with rape. He spent a night in jail and was released on bail.

It’s believed that a criminal conviction would have caused him to lose his permit to work in Anguilla, and therefore would have caused him to have to leave the island.

The alleged incident involved his girlfriend, who said after the fact:

“It wasn’t a rape. It was a misunderstanding. We had a spat. We had a disagreement. That was it.”

Bottom line

I’ll be curious how this unfolds over the next few days. No matter how you slice it, this is a really sad story.

I will say that the details about the hotel worker being drunk and on drugs, as well as his previous case, does present a slightly different picture than before.

The thing is, even if the situation was as the American described, there’s still the question of him holding the hotel worker down for an extended period of time, which is what killed him. Was he justified in doing that in self defense, given that he couldn’t trust other hotel employees, or should he be held accountable for that?

I’ll keep an eye on this, and am curious to see how this unfolds.

(Tip of the hat to Pete)

Comments
  1. Thoughts if the US doesn’t extradite (perhaps under humanitarian grounds), what would be his motive to physically or remotely attend any hearing? The alternative would be essentially just paying the country at $74,000 fine.

    Guilty or justified, a prison stint in Anguilla under these circumstances would be tantamount to a death sentence.

  2. The American tourist was protecting his family against a drunk + high knife wielding assailant in a foreign country in unfamiliar surroundings. Had the drunk hotel worker, who has a criminal history, not gone into the hotel room and assaulted the guest with a knife, the whole unfortunate situation would have been avoided. Straight forward case of self defense.

  3. In parts of your summary you seem to accept the suspect’s view on a key issue without acknowledging that its just his version of events. ie. “given that he couldn’t trust other hotel employees”. That is not at all a given. The NYT reporting said that the suspect held the man down for half an hour while hotel security and a supervisor pleaded with him to let him up as he was having trouble breathing.

  4. I’m curious what happened to a male floor tile store owner and a 23 year old (in 2011) female photographer who were both kidding around on a Delta flight that eventually had to divert to MEM. The female claimed she was an ESPN photographer and reporter so the male tried to beat that by saying he’s a secret agent like James Bond. The female became bored and reported him to the flight attendant. The man was arrested because he said he had sleep gas in his architecture drawing tube. Actually, both were jiving and lying but the man got punished and banned from DL for life. Sleep gas was deemed a weapon by the FA.

    I wonder what happened to them?

  5. I can understand why he wouldn’t trust the hotel workers. I once stayed at hotel in Mauritius where the door wouldn’t work and every night for 14 days we called reception and they said they’d send someone up to fix it and no one came, and when you asked why no one came all the staff would ‘cover’ for one another as to why it wasn’t sorted out. At the same hotel I also had stuff stolen from the room (medicine, cologne, clothes) and when asking the staff about getting the issue resolved they’d again do nothing about as it seemed they were all in on it. In both cases went to the hotel manager and he again did nothing about it, cover for his staff. Only once when I got home and sorted it out with the hotel chain did I get some compensation. My point is with experiences like this it’s hard for me to trust any hotel workers in ‘poorer’ countries.

  6. @ Justin — I’m not at all accepting it as fact. As I say in the sentence immediately after that section:
    “Let me emphasize that this is all what was alleged to have happened”

  7. @Jake: I think there’s a meaningful difference between not trusting hotel workers on issues of petty theft and assuming that multiple hotel workers are engaged in a conspiracy to attack you with a knife. Did the suspect legitimately think the security staff were going to let Mr. Mitchell stand up and begin physically attacking him? I think that interpretation is open to skepticism. This is especially so within the context of Anguilla, which is generally considered very safe, and at the Malliouhana which is a $1000+/night very high end small resort. Anguilla has 15,000 people and is a British Overseas Territory… as @TDA said, it isn’t Angola. I don’t know if Mr. Mitchell attacked Mr. Hapgood as Mr. Hapgood says, but I do think we shouldn’t just accept his view that he “couldn’t trust the hotel workers”.

  8. @Ben: The line I was referring to is near the end of your piece, so no the sentence immediately after that did not say “… what was alleged to have happened.” The fact that the line I was referring to comes at the very end of the piece makes it read that you are accepting as fact what you earlier stated were simply the man’s allegations/version of events. I think its just a question of a disagreement on editing.

  9. Hotel employees consumes cocaine and it is allowed working at a LUXURY hotel?
    If it happens in Indonesia, this American would be released without any charge and free to go.
    Now this website is okay with cocaine. What’s next? Legalizing heroin?

  10. The hotel worker, very drunk and loaded up on cocaine goes into the guest’s room and proceeds to attempt to rob him with his young children present, then attacks him, whereupon the guest ends up subduing the assailant when other hotel workers show up. At that point, the guest is required to “trust” the other hotel workers, after just being assaulted by a hotel worker and then is further expected to behave logically after this ordeal in accordance with the other hotel workers demand. If these hotel workers were in fact hotel security, then they should have moved in and subdued the hotel guest but they didn’t. From what we know, I have a very hard time blaming the American guest. And if I were him, I sure wouldn’t go back to that place to face “justice.”

  11. What do you want from these Left Wing Millennials peddling credit cards? Im surprised the banks still pay the site with this propaganda

  12. Waiting for the regular Anti American comments from the leftist followers ‘aww poor Anguillan man, they greedy American should have gave him the money he needed to feed his family’. And that kind of people vote.

  13. Lucky, I’m surprised at your take on this. The hotel worker was high on coke and drunk. Coupled with the previous rape charge from just a few weeks prior, and I find it hard to believe that the American is lying. I can also see why he’d have trouble trusting other hotel workers, who knows whether this was a multi person plot.

  14. Until you have been in a situation in which defense of self or third parties required the use of force (including deadly force) you are not in a position to judge this man. The terror of having to fight for your life (or worse yet, the lives of your children) against an armed assailant doesn’t leave much room for cool, rational decision-making. Your adrenaline is up and pumping, and your basic instinct for survival is foremost in your mind. “Stop him, stop him, stop him…” becomes your mantra and your sole mission. Until you are CERTAIN that the threat has been neutralized, nothing else matters.

    Not one of us truly knows what happened in that hotel room. However, had I been in a situation like the one the American described, with an armed assailant in custody and the assailant’s coworkers urging me to let him go, I probably would have hung on until the police arrived. Why would I – having just fought this man to the ground – free him to renew his attack on me and my family? Why would I trust the men who are telling me to do the one thing every instinct in my body tells me NOT to do?

    It is easy for prosecutors to twist circumstances to fit their own storyline – the storyline which makes the defendant look guilty as sin. The odds of a fair trial for that man hover somewhere between zero and “fat chance!”

    Finally, once he is convicted, a wealthy white American imprisoned for killing a native is almost guaranteed a horrific and short life. Have you ever seen the inside of a prison? There’s no safety there. Hell, even the guards aren’t safe, and they’re supposedly the ones in control. He will die, or pay dearly for “protection” from other inmates.

    Given the facts known about the assailant – the drugs, alcohol, arrests for violent offenses – I am inclined to give the American a HUGE benefit of doubt, and fully support his desire to forego returning for his lynching. Oh, damned auto-correct! I meant to say “his trial.”

  15. IM AN AMERICAN EXPAT LIVING ON ANGUILLA.
    Let me make some things very clear that this post doesn’t. First of all, the employee was about 5”5 tall and about 140 pounds wet, the guest was about 6”3 and easily 200+ lbs.
    As the hotel logs show the guest requested the employee come to the room to repair a faucet in the bathroom. He requested the employee by name.
    Beach and pool staff from the resort claim that the guest requested cocaine to purchase earlier through the day and the maintenance worker was able to source this for him.
    The staff member that died supplied the drugs and when he went to collect his money that evening as planned at the room, the guest tried to under pay him claiming that he didn’t receive enough cocaine.
    This led them to get into an argument that escalated into a fight. In the drugged conditions that the guest was in the he got the upper hand due to his size and beat the smaller employee with his fist and slammed his head to the ground until he was able to apply a choke hold.
    Security came to the room due to noise complaints and were not able to have him release his hold which ultimately killed the hotel employee.
    NO WEAPONS OR DRUGS where found at the scene of the crime, the American guest was not even put into custody until about 3 days later. They did not conduct toxicology reports on the guests for reasons unknown.

    The island continues to be a haven for high paying guests looking for a tranquil non commercial way to enjoy time with family and away from work. This case is one of the 2 murder cases that have occurred for the entire year on the island of Anguilla, Google it.
    This is a very one sided point of view to the story. If you have any questions feel free to email me.
    [email protected]

  16. Anyone who starts off saying “I’m not trying to be Nancy Grace…” is saying it all.

  17. Why are you trying to smear the man who was murdered? He can no longer defend himself. Suggesting that a hard-working, family man of color was drunk, high and violent is completely inappropriate and irrelevant. We need to focus on the rich white man who murdered him. What skeletons are in his past?

  18. Anguilla has the British legal system.

    A defence of self-defence terminates at the instant that the offender was restrained and other people were on the scene.

    At that point there was no other threat to the safety of the American and his family, and certainly no threat justifying use of lethal force.

    The ultimate death of the armed robber then becomes EITHER a case of Manslaughter (unpremeditated homicide) or the careless and wanton use of Excessive Force.

    Either way, the American is at risk of a long custodial sentence. This is why even our Police are not allowed to carry arms in the UK: if you use excessive force in defending yourself and the assailant ends up dead you go to jail for a long, long time.

  19. As I said on the original story: this scumbag is never going to go back to face trial and will use all his money and power to try to weasel his way free.

  20. Lets assume that the tested blood level results are correct and that the assailant was 225% over the legal impaired level for blood alcohol, had cocaine and other drugs in his system and had attempted to injure the guest of the hotel so his system is also filled with adrenaline.

    Reasonably the guest of the hotel is not about to let this assailant loose without some restraint or means of preventing further attacks.

    Most probably the assailant died of his ingested drugs and side effects related.

    This is not the problem or fault of the guest. For those who sympathize with the attacker I suggest that he received a just and reasonable end. Had he not been overloaded with a variety of illegal drugs he would have survived being restrained.

  21. I see no reason why this financial advisor with a family from a wealthy town in Connecticut would kill a maintenance worker at a luxury hotel. It makes absolutely zero sense. I mean think about it. Why in the world would he do that? He has nothing to gain, and everything to lose.

    Add in the news about this worker being high and drunk, and having a shady past, and I am comfortable in accepting the American man’s story. I believe him.

    Also, he’s an idiot if he goes back voluntarily. It’s possible he may not have a choice if there’s an extradition request, but he should not go back on his own accord. Make the US government do it.

  22. Any one who doesn’t recognize that this was mostly likely a case of self defense is just evil. Hopefully the case will be dismissed and if it is not hopefully the U.S. government stands up for its citizens.

  23. If one of the hotel employees was high and drunk and threatening with a knife demanding money I sure would not trust any of the other ones up front ! I am sure the man was terrified and was thinking of protecting his daughters and himself ! And I am sure he did not want to kill the drunk and take a life and have to deal with the outlasting from this place and be jailed there ! Only when we are in that situation will we be able to say what we would actually do ! Fear and terror can be a tricky thing when we are faced with it. !

  24. I think a lot of people are jumping to conclusions based on behavioral biases (ie. information availability bias – making a judgement based on what information has been presented even if that information is very incomplete). Fact: No one will ever know what happened prior to the other hotel employees arriving. No one can know whether the hotel guest attacked the hotel worker or vice versa. All we have is the story of the hotel guest, which will logically be self-interested and a few tidbits of potentially circumstantial items (the hotel worker had consumed certain drugs and alcohol). Unfortunately, we do not have the story of the hotel worker since he was killed, we do not have a toxicology report of the hotel guest (since it was not taken), and both the idea of a hotel worker in uniform attacking a hotel guest and a hotel guest attacking a hotel worker seem equally difficult to understand. Given that, what this seems to boil down to is whether it was reasonable for the hotel guest to have held down the hotel worker for 30 minutes in such a manner that he couldn’t breathe and caused his death. As @DavidF suggests, this is an issue of manslaughter or excessive force. When people say that they would have felt threatened and not let him up is irrelevant, the question is how the court interprets it based on British law, and my guess is that they have a different idea of what constitutes self-defense than Americans. In the U.S. it seems like just “feeling threatened” has precedent as grounds for fatal use of force. I don’t think that’s the case in the UK.

  25. I’m 69 and have lived in Arizona all my life. I still have places in my home state I haven’t seen, let alone the whole USA. Why do people have to go to these shithole foreign countries on vacation? If you absolutely must go to the Caribbean, go to Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. It’s a no-brainer, people!

  26. @Garth
    Anguilla is one of the safest Carribian islands. On the other hand USVI and PR are infested with crime and violence. USVI is one of the most dangerous places in the Norther hemisphere if you look at per capital murder rate.

  27. @Phil

    Perhaps you missed something. The attacker was on Cocaine – not the “wealthy” victim (so why would the economic status of the victim play a part in this?)

    Is it morally correct to attack someone who might have more money than you?

    Duh

  28. @Azamaraal: We actually do not know if the hotel guest was on cocaine or other drugs since a toxicology report was not done on him, so you can’t say that with certainty.

  29. @Justin

    You missed the point. @phil claimed the GUEST/VICTIM was on Cocaine, not the perpetrator/worker. The tox report was on the attacker, not the victim in this piece. But it appears that so many respondents want to make the guest the culprit from some weird sense of values.

  30. @Azamaraal: You have no evidence that the hotel guest was a “victim” and that the hotel worker was an “attacker” or “perpetrator”. Your framing the event in terms that have not been proven in court or justified by the extremely limited evidence. You’ve already leapt to a conclusion as to what happened. You’re doing exactly what you accuse others of doing: jumping to conclusions based on insufficient evidence.

    There is simply no way to know what happened before the other hotel workers arrived because there is no impartial witness. What we do know is that the hotel guest held down the hotel worker for 30 minutes causing his death. Whether this was a crime (manslaughter) or not is up to the courts.

  31. Justin, Given your skepticism about everything else, how do YOU know that the hotel guest
    was held down for 30 minutes causing his death? You weren’t there with a stopwatch, either.

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