The 54-year-old co-founder of the Salt Life brand faced arraignment in Florida Monday in the shooting death of an 18-year-old woman — described as his girlfriend — in a Florida hotel room nearly two weeks ago.
Michael Hutto, 54, admitted to detectives to shooting Lora Grace Duncan as they were playing with a gun in the Hilton Hotel on Singer Island and then leaving her there without calling for help, according to an arrest affidavit obtained Monday.
Hutto was being held on $250,000 bail after appearing before a Palm Beach County Judge via video conference on a manslaughter and gun charge.
CO-FOUNDER OF SALT LIFE BRAND CHARGED IN FLORIDA IN 18-YEAR-OLD WOMAN’S SHOOTING DEATH
“I think I hurt my Gracie,” Hutto was quoted as telling three Rivera Beach detectives during an Oct. 28 interview in a Jacksonville Hospital where he had been taken after suffering a drug overdose. They had shown up after Duncan’s body was found.
Detective Everton Morgan said in the affidavit that after making that statement Hutto broke down in tears and cut short the interview, telling the detectives to come back the next day.
Morgan said when they showed up again, Hutto told them what happened in the hotel room.
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“Mr. Hutto stated that him and his Gracie spent time on the beach,” Morgan said in the court papers. “Mr. Hutto also stated that him and Gracie was playing inside of the hotel room as if they were shooting with their finger and a gun.”
Morgan also wrote, “Mr. Hutto went on to state that 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.”
The detective said that Hutto also stated that after leaving the hotel he drove in his Dodge Hellcat Charger until he ran out of gas hundreds of miles away at a St. Augustine gas station.
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It was from there that Hutto was taken to the hospital.
The investigation began after Duncan’s father, Burton Duncan, contacted Riviera Beach police on Oct. 29 to say that he had not been able to make contact with his daughter in 48 hours.
According to Mr. Duncan his daughter was with her boyfriend, Hutto, Morgan said.
The detective said the father also believed Hutto was giving his daughter drugs to keep her sedated.
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Hutto started Salt Life in 2003 with friends. The company says Hutto and the other co-founders have not been invovled in the business since selling it a few years ago.