salt-life-clothing-co-founder-reportedly-admitted-killing-teen-in-hotel-room

(CNN) — A co-founder of Salt Life, an ocean-centric apparel brand, was arrested and charged with manslaughter in connection with the killing of an 18-year-old woman in Florida, court records show.

Michael Troy Hutto, 54, appeared in court via videolink Monday in Palm Beach County, where a judge set bond at $255,000. In addition to manslaughter, Hutto is also charged with possession of a weapon during a felony.

Hutto reportedly told police detectives that the woman was his girlfriend and that he accidentally shot her while they were “playing” in their hotel room.

The parents of the woman, Lora Grace Duncan, had called sheriff’s deputies on Oct. 29 from their home in Lake City, Florida, to request a welfare check on their daughter. They said her phone’s location indicated she was at a Hilton hotel in Riviera Beach, near Palm Beach, the arrest affidavit says, and they indicated she was romantically involved with Hutto.

Riviera Beach police went to the hotel and found a woman’s body with a gunshot wound to the stomach, the affidavit says. The room was rented in Hutto’s name, it said, and his ID, phone, wallet and other belongings were there.

Meanwhile, Hutto had been taken that day to a hospital in Jacksonville, 300 miles north of Riviera Beach, after he was reportedly found twitching, shaking   and “making delusional comments” at a St. Augustine gas station.

When detectives spoke to Hutto in the hospital, he told them he thought he hurt “Gracie” and began to cry, the affidavit said. He said they had been in the hotel room playing “as if they were shooting with their finger and a gun” when he pointed a gun at Duncan and it went off. He said he left the room and drove until he ran out of gas, the arrest affidavit said.

He was arrested Oct. 30 and booked into the Duval County jail.

CNN has reached out to Hutto’s public defender but has not heard back.

Hutto was one of four co-founders of Salt Life, formed in 2003 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. The brand’s name and logo was taken from a tattoo on the back of Hutto’s neck, according to a 2004 story in Jacksonville Business Journal. Delta Apparel acquired Salt Life in 2013.

Salt Life offered its condolences in a tweet October 31.

“Sadly we have learned one of Salt Life’s co-founders has been charged with a felony,” Salt Life representatives said in the tweet. “Salt Life sends their utmost sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased. In 2013, the co-founders of Salt Life sold their entire business to the new owners.”

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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