Salt Life clothing founder reportedly admitted killing teen

(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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Clothing brand founder admitted to shooting teen in hotel: police

A Florida clothing brand founder allegedly admitted to police that he accidentally shot an 18-year-old woman at a hotel near Palm Beach.

According to the arrest affidavit, the father of the victim, Laura Grace Duncan, told investigators that his daughter was in a romantic relationship with Michael Hutto, the founder of the Salt Life clothing and lifestyle brand.

a man looking at the camera: Michael Hutto

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Michael Hutto

Michael Hutto

Hutto the told police that he and Duncan were on their way to the Florida Keys last month before stopping at a Hilton resort on Singer Island, near Palm Beach. Hutto allegedly told said the two were joking around in their hotel room with a finger-gun and a real gun. At one point, the gun fired once, hitting Duncan in the stomach.

Hutto took the gun with him by fled the room without his identification or wallet. He was later rushed to a hospital in Jacksonville, about 275 miles north, after he was found in his car illegally parked outside a gas station “twitching, making delusional comments and crying while his eyes were rolling into the back of his head.”

Hutto allegedly told police at the hospital, “Oh my God, I think I hurt my Gracie,” while crying, according to WPTV, a Florida NBC affiliate.

Duncan was discovered back at the hotel room on Oct. 29 after her parents traced her phone’s location after not hearing from her for several days.

Hutto, who sold his share of Salt Life in 2013, was arrested the next day when he left the hospital. He has been charged with one count of manslaughter and a firearms possession violation. His next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 9.

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