Co-founder of the clothing company Salt Life, Michael Hutto has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for shooting his teenage girlfriend and leaving her body to decompose in a hotel in Florida.
The 56-year-old had pleaded guilty to the charge on Thursday, Feb. 16, accepting responsibility for the death of 18-year-old Lora Grace Duncan at the Hilton Singer Island oceanfront resort in October 2020.
He is reported to have accidentally gunned down the teenager during a mock shooting game and was arrested in his hometown of Jacksonville after fleeing the crime scene.
The father of the deceased called the police requesting a welfare check after being unable to contact his daughter for several days and had gone ahead to track his daughter’s cellphone to the Hilton Hotel using an app and it was there the police had discovered her decomposing body with a gunshot wound to the stomach.
The hotel room her body was found is said to have been rented in Hutto’s name and his wallet and ID card were found in the room according to a police report.
Hutto was also reported to have been found at St. Augustine gas station and taken to a hospital in Jacksonville after he was seen “twitching, making delusional comments and crying while his eyes were rolling into the back of his head,”
When questioned about his girlfriend, Hutto exclaimed bursting into tears;
Oh, my God, I think I hurt my Gracie,”
Michael Hutto had also gone ahead to inform the police that he and Duncan were on their way to Florida Keys to visit friends before deciding to stop by at the Hilton.
Having spent time on the beach together, they decided to play in the room acting as though they were shooting with their finger and a gun and he mistakenly fired a shot at her in the process. Realising this, Hutto placed the gun in his Adidas backpack, jumped in his green Dodge and sped away, driving until he ran out of gas.
The deceased’s father had also claimed that Hutto had been “plying his teen daughter with drugs and keeping her sedated“. Having pleaded guilty to charges, Hutto was sentenced to 12 years in prison with credit for 79 days served.
Michael Hutto is said to have co-founded Salt Life Apparel in 2003 with some friends and is credited for having come up with the brand name.