The Anguilla resort worker believed to have died of asphyxiation during a struggle with a Connecticut banker earlier this year may have actually been killed from a cocaine overdose, a new autopsy report suggests.
The revised findings surrounding the death of 27-year-old Kenny Mitchel, which were obtained by the New York Times, are based on recently released toxicology tests. UBS banker Scott Hapgood, 44, is still facing manslaughter charges following Mitchel’s April 13 death.
“Acute cocaine toxicity could have been a potentially independent cause of death in the known circumstances,” Dr. Stephen King said in the document dated Sept. 3, according to the Times.
The newspaper reports that a coroner initially declared that Mitchel died of asphyxiation – but the revised findings suggest he essentially was in the process of dying around the time he entered Hapgood’s room at the Malliouhana resort on the Caribbean island, where a confrontation ensued.
An analysis of the new findings that Hapgood’s legal team asked Dr. David R. Fowler, the chief medical examiner for the state of Maryland, to carry out also claimed the cocaine levels in Mitchel’s bloodstream that day were “twice that commonly accepted to have a fatal outcome,” the New York Times adds.
A spokesperson for Hapgood previously said Mitchel "showed up unannounced in uniform at the hotel room around 4 p.m.” on April 13, “claiming he was there to fix a broken sink before carrying out his sudden, violent attack."
Hapgood, in an interview with CBS News earlier this year, said he was trying to defend himself and his daughters.
"I was on vacation relaxing with my family and attacked at knifepoint in a private hotel room," he told the network. "All that I did was defend my young daughters in front of an attacker that was crazed and desperate and I have to just hold onto that fact. I would do it again and thank God I was in the room when he came."
The spokesperson also has said Mitchel was armed and demanded money.
A toxicology report revealed Mitchel had cocaine, marijuana, and other drugs in his system. His blood-alcohol level was two times the legal limit in the U.S.
Mitchel's mother, Rina, said her son had no history of violent behavior and that he was a considerate man and loving father.
Hapgood was arrested four days after the attack and initially denied bail. He was later released on a $74,000 bond after his lawyer appealed to the High Court.
The New York Times reports that Hapgood returned to Anguilla last month for preliminary hearings, but his case has been adjourned until mid-November.
The attorney general there has declined to speak out about the case.
Fox News’ Barnini Chakraborty and the Associated Press contributed to this report.