Salt Life Founder Pleads Guilty After Killing 18-Year-Old Girlfriend While They Were 'Playing' with Gun

Michael Troy Hutto told police that he and Lora Grace Duncan were "playing inside of the hotel room as if they were shooting with their finger and a gun"

The co-founder of the Salt Life apparel brand pleaded guilty last Thursday to a manslaughter charge in the 2020 death of his 18-year-old girlfriend and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, court records show.

Michael Troy Hutto, now 56, fatally shot 18-year-old Lora Grace Duncan in October 2020, then told authorities it was an accident, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by multiple outlets.

Duncan died from a single gunshot wound to the stomach. She was discovered by her father on Oct. 29 inside a room at the Hilton Singer Island oceanfront resort after her parents traced her cell phone there. The room was registered to Hutto, who according to Duncan's father, was in a romantic relationship with his daughter. Hutto was not present in the room with Duncan, but he had left his ID and wallet behind.

Authorities learned that a day earlier, Hutto had been taken to a hospital in Jacksonville after police found him in a car parked illegally outside a gas station in St. Augustine. According to the affidavit, Hutto was found "twitching, making delusional comments and crying while his eyes were rolling into the back of his head."

Michael Hutto and Lora Grace Duncan
Michael Hutto, Lora Grace Duncan. Riviera Beach Police, Lora Grace Duncan/facebook

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

The affidavit states Hutto told detectives he and Duncan were headed to the Florida Keys to visit some of his friends but stopped at the Hilton.

At the hospital, Hutto allegedly told police, "Oh my God, I think I hurt my Gracie," and then began crying.

Later, Hutto told detectives that he and Duncan were "playing inside of the hotel room as if they were shooting with their finger and a gun."

Hutto told detectives that Duncan was sitting on the counter in the bathroom when he pointed the gun at her and it fired. He allegedly left the room, taking the gun with him.

Hutto founded the Salt Life clothing brand with several Jacksonville-area friends in 2003.

The company's customer base consists mostly of those who enjoy boating, surfing and fishing. The company's stickers are often seen in car windows.

At the time of Hutto's arrest, the company noted on its Facebook page Hutto had sold his share of the business in 2013 and was no longer affiliated with the brand.

Related Articles