Uncle accused of niece's murder has lengthy criminal record - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Uncle accused of niece's murder has lengthy criminal record

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Arthur Hapgood was charged with murdering his 1-year-old niece. (Bristol police photo) Arthur Hapgood was charged with murdering his 1-year-old niece. (Bristol police photo)
1-year-old Zaniyah Calloway died after being stabbed Monday night 1-year-old Zaniyah Calloway died after being stabbed Monday night
The incident happened on Park Street. (WFSB photo) The incident happened on Park Street. (WFSB photo)

An uncle told police that he was high on drugs when he stabbed his 1-year-old niece in the stomach.

Police said 36-year-old Arthur Hapgood was babysitting Monday night at a home on Park Street in Bristol when the incident happened. 

When emergency crews arrived, they said a family member had been running toward them holding Zaniyah Calloway. They tried to save her with CPR.

She was taken to Bristol Hospital but flown to Connecticut Children's Hospital in Hartford, where she died.

Hapgood was arrested without incident.

Without being prompted, police said Hapgood told them that he had consumed illegal drugs. When asked which ones, he said "all of them."

An 11-year-old child was also home at the time of murder and watched the violence play out.

Neighbors reported hearing screams beforehand.

"He really should pay for what he did. That's a little one," neighbor Carrie Bulluss said. "This is too scary. We are going to move and look around."

Police continued processing the crime scene Tuesday morning.

In a report released Tuesday, police said they were first summoned to Hapgood's apartment in Waterbury on Sunday. Hapgood allegedly punched his wife, Estacy Riquelmy, in the eye and mouth. She didn't want him staying there anymore, so Arthur Hapgood went to stay with his mother, Roberta Hapgood, on Park Street in Bristol.

Monday, Riquelmy and her daughter stopped by the Bristol home to drop off some clothes, the report said. Arthur Hapgood attempted to apologize, but Riquelmy stated she was leaving. That's when her husband became upset.

Arthur Hapgood allegedly cornered the daughter, who was holding Zaniyah. Zaniyah was stabbed at that point, according to the report.

Police were called. When they arrived, they said Jeremy Hapgood, Arthur Hapgood's nephew, ran down the driveway with Zaniyah in his arms. She appeared to be lifeless.

People outside of the home yelled to police that "[Arthur Hapgood] was in the house."

When officers approached, a nude Arthur Hapgood shut the door on them. The report said police demanded he come out, and he did, still naked. He was then cuffed.

Neighbors said they heard screams after the incident happened, but saw Arthur Hapgood playing in the area with the children before the murder.

"They were just blood curdling screams, like you know there's something wrong," said Amber Collins, who was in the Park Street area at the time of the murder. "He was playing kickball with all of the kids, I didn't see him as a threat."

He was charged with murder, first-degree reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor, police said.

Hapgood was arraigned at Bristol Superior Court late Tuesday morning where he appeared in a torn white dress shirt and dress pants. 

A shout of "why" erupted from the gallery during the court appearance. Arthur Hapgood looked back, but seemed emotionless.

"I just want justice done, that's it," said Juan Negron, another uncle of the victim.

His bond is $2.5 million. 

Records show he had been convicted of various drug felonies, which led to past prison time.

Arthur Hapgood has a lengthy criminal history

Arthur Hapgood's criminal history dates back to 1996 when he was reportedly involved in a drive-by shooting.

On this past Sunday, police were called to Hapgood's home in Waterbury for a domestic incident, and there was a warrant for his arrest.

Police were called to his home on Drayer Street in Waterbury at around 9 p.m. Sunday night after he and his wife reportedly got into a fight.

His wife, Estacy Riquelmy told police that Hapgood punched her in the face over the weekend.

Witnesses told police that Hapgood was high on PCP, also known as "Angel Dust," on Monday night when he allegedly stabbed little Zaniyah Calloway.

Witnesses also said he may have smoked "wet," which is marijuana soaked in embalming fluid.

Hapgood is no stranger to the law. In addition to the 1996 drive-by shooting, he was also charged with drug use in 2007 and 2008.

"I don't think anyone should be judged for their past, but it does seem to come back and affect the present," said Patrick Rodrigues of Waterbury.

On May 22, Hapgood was hired to clean windows for a company in Fairfield County, and his direct supervisor said he was shocked to hear about the murder.

He said that Hapgood was friendly, respectful and arrived on time and did his work.

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