Salt Life Co-Founder Was Dating 18-Year-Old Whose Death He Is Charged With, Teen's Father Says

Lora Grace Duncan, 18, allegedly murdered by Michael Hutto
Facebook/Duval County Jail/Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

Burton Duncan said he believed Hutto was giving his daughter drugs to keep her sedated, according to the affidavit.

The co-founder of a popular apparel company is being held in a Florida jail as a “flight risk” after being charged in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old woman at a South Florida hotel last month, the Associated Press reported. On Monday, Palm Beach County Judge Ted Booras set bond at $255,000 for Michael Troy Hutto, 54 on a manslaughter charge in the death of Lora Grace Duncan, and $5,000 for possession or use of a weapon, according to court records obtained by Inside Edition Digital.

Prosecutors and police said Hutto allegedly admitted to accidentally shooting Duncan while the two were “playing” with a gun inside a hotel room, the AP reported. Duncan reportedly died from a single gunshot wound. She was found by police at the Hilton Oceanfront Resort on Singer Island near Palm Beach on Thursday.  

According to an affidavit filed by police, Duncan’s father, Burton Duncan, said he had not been able to make contact with his daughter in over 48 hours and that his daughter was with her boyfriend, Michael Hutto.

According to the police affidavit, Duncan said he believed Hutto was giving his daughter “drugs to keep her sedated.” The documents also revealed that Duncan said the last time he spoke with his daughter she sounded “out of character and possibly on drugs."

On Oct. 29, Riviera Beach police responded to the hotel and found a woman's body with a gunshot wound to the stomach, the affidavit said. The room was rented in Hutto's name, it said, with his ID, phone, wallet and belongings still inside.

The day before Duncan’s body was discovered, Hutto was illegally parked at a gas station parking lot, according to police. He was reportedly twitching, making delusional comments and crying while his eyes were rolling into the back of his head, the affidavit said.

St. Johns County Fire Rescue transported him to Baptist Hospital in Jacksonville, where detectives spoke to Hutto.
"Moments later, Mr. Hutto uttered which was not verbatim, 'Oh my God, I think, I hurt my Gracie' as he began to cry," the affidavit said. 

According to the affidavit, Hutto said that he and Gracie were heading to the Florida Keys to visit some friends. They had stayed at the Hilton. He stated that he and Duncan spent time on the beach. He allegedly said he had been in the hotel room playing "as if they were shooting with their finger and a gun" when he pointed a gun at Gracie and it went off. He said he left the room and drove until he ran out of gas, the arrest affidavit said.

Hutto co-founded the Salt Life clothing brand with several Jacksonville Beach friends in 2003, who described themselves as "hardcore fishermen, surfers and deep-water divers." Hutton summed up their daily activities as "living the salt life," the Times-Union reported.

Hutto and his partners sold the business for nearly $40 million, according to the Associated Press. He had not been involved in the clothing line since 2013, according to company officials.

“Sadly we have learned one of Salt Life’s co-founders has been charged with a felony,” the company said in a Facebook post. “Salt Life sends their utmost sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased.”

Hutto’s next court date is set for Dec. 8 at 10:30 a.m., according to court documents.