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A co-founder of the clothing brand Salt Life, who is accused of shooting an 18-year-old girl to death in a Florida hotel room, allegedly claimed that she was his girlfriend and that they had been playing around when the fatal shot was fired.
Michael Troy Hutto, 54, was arrested last week following the discovery of 18-year-old Lora Grace Duncan’s body inside a Riviera Beach hotel on Oct. 29. Columbia County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steven Khachigan previously told Oxygen.com that Duncan was found dead at the Hilton Singer Island oceanfront resort with an apparent gunshot wound. He also said the teen’s parents grew concerned after she left Columbia County, where she lived, with “somebody that she knew.”
Her father has told police that Hutto was her boyfriend, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by WPTV in West Palm Beach. He also alleged that Hutto gave drugs to his daughter to keep her sedated, according to that same affidavit.
The affidavit alleges that on Oct. 28 — one day before Duncan's body was found — deputies found Hutto overdosing at a St. Augustine gas station parking lot, according to WTLV. They found Hutto "twitching, making delusional comments and crying while his eyes were rolling into the back of his head." He was taken to a nearby hospital as a result, where he told detectives "Oh my God, I think I hurt my Gracie," the affidavit states.
He claimed that he and the teen were "playing inside of the hotel room as if they were shooting with their finger and a gun," according to the affidavit. He allegedly claimed that Duncan was sitting on the bathroom counter when his gun went off. Instead of seeking help, he ran off with the gun and drove until he ran out of gas. His gun was found in his car at that gas station, authorities said.
Hutto was formally arrested on Oct. 30 on manslaughter and possession of a firearm charge. His bond was set at $255,000 Monday. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer.
The Salt Life brand was created in 2003 by Hutto and three other friends who are described as “avid watermen” from Jacksonville Beach, according to the company’s Facebook page. Following Hutto’s arrest, the company made it clear through a statement that all four co-founders sold their business to new owners in 2013.
“The co-founders have not been associated with the brand in any way since the purchase in 2013,” they stated, adding their condolences to Duncan’s loved ones.
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