A clothing company founder pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Thursday for fatally shooting his teenage girlfriend inside a Florida hotel room. Defendant Michael Troy Hutto, 56, maintained that he killed Lora Grace Duncan, 18, as an accident while they were pretending to shoot each other with a finger and gun, according to the probable cause affidavit in 2020. Riviera Beach police said he fled the scene.
The charge was manslaughter with a firearm. He will receive 79 days credit for time served.
Riviera Beach police previously said they responded to a welfare check on Oct. 29, 2020 at the Hilton Hotel on North Ocean Boulevard after Duncan’s father said he could not reach her for more than 48 hours. The father said Duncan was with her boyfriend, Hutto. He made an allegation that they believe Hutto was giving her drugs and keeping her sedated. When the father last spoke to her, she sounded out of character and maybe on drugs, he said.
He was able to track her down through her cell phone to the hotel, where staff helped police open the room.
“When patrol units arrived, there was a strong odor of decomposition from the hallway,” police said. Officers found Duncan dead by the bathroom door. She had a gunshot wound to her stomach.
“The body was covered in blood and there were live rounds observed on the floor,” police said.
The room was in Hutto’s name. He left behind his wallet and ID card, authorities said.
According to police, Hutto was hospitalized the day before police found Duncan dead. A gas station attendant reported calling police about a man who was on medication and shaking.
“Michael was reportedly twitching, making delusional comments, and crying while his eyes were rolling into the back of his head,” police wrote.
Police said he confessed at the hospital to shooting Duncan, though he asserted it was an accident. From the probable cause affidavit:
Moments later, Mr. Hutto uttered which was not verbatim, “Oh my God, I think, I hurt my Gracie” as he began to cry.
According to documents, Hutto said he and Duncan were heading to the Florida Keys to visit some of his friends. They stayed at a Hilton on the way there. It was at the hotel that they were playing around by pretending to shoot each other with a finger and gun.
“Mr. Hutto went on to state as Gracie was sitting on the counter inside of the bathroom, he pointed the gun at Gracie, at which time it went off and shot her,” police wrote. “At that time, Mr. Hutto stated he put the gun in his black Adidas backpack then left the room. Mr. Hutto also stated that he went and got into his 2020 green Dodge and left the hotel and drove until he ran out of gas at a gas station.”
The defendant is a co-founder of a clothing company Salt Life. The company said after his arrest that he had not played a part in the business after selling it in 2013.
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