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By David Owens, Don Stacom, and Dave Moran, The Hartford Courant

BRISTOL, Conn. — The man accused of fatally slashing his 1-year-old niece has a lengthy arrest record that includes drug, gun, and robbery charges, court officials said Tuesday.

Arthur Hapgood, 36, of Waterbury was arraigned in Superior Court, where his bail was boosted from $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

“This is a horrifyingly violent crime,” said prosecutor Paul Rotiroti.

The baby, Zaniyah Calloway, died Monday night from a slash wound to her midsection after the attack. Hapgood was charged with murder with special circumstances, first-degree reckless endangerment, and risk of injury to a minor.

He has a long criminal history, the bail commissioner said, which includes charges of robbery, larceny, and having a pistol without a permit. He was sentenced to four years in prison on drug charges in 2008 and is on probation.

“Look at me, look at me, why you did that to my niece?” Juan Negron cried out in court as Hapgood was being led out.

A lifelong Connecticut resident, Hapgood has a wife and two children in the area.

According to Detective Lt. Kevin Morrell, police were called to a disturbance at the house about 7:20 p.m. Monday.

Arriving officers encountered a resident running toward them carrying a small child. The child, Zaniyah Calloway of Bristol, was suffering from a serious cut to her midsection. Officers immediately began to provide aid to Zaniyah, Morrell said.

More officers arrived and were told that the person responsible for Zaniyah’s injuries was still inside. As they approached the house, Arthur Hapgood came out and was taken into custody.

Zaniyah was transported by city medics to Bristol Hospital and then flown by Life Star helicopter to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Morrell said.

“Efforts to save her life were unsuccessful and she died as a result of her injuries,” he said.

Hapgood, too, was taken to Bristol Hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries, police said. He told officers he had been baby-sitting Zaniyah all day.

Morrell said late Monday that police were waiting for a search warrant so they could enter the residence. The state police major crimes squad was called to help gather evidence, he said.

AFP Photo/Mat Hayward

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