Salt Life founder, 56, admits to shooting dead teenage girlfriend in ‘play gun fight’

 (WPTV Screenshot/Facebook )
(WPTV Screenshot/Facebook )

A co-founder of apparel brand Salt Life has pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges in the death of his teenage girlfriend.

Michael Hutto, 56, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Monday for the October 2020 killing of 18-year-old Lora Grace Duncan, local news station WPTV reported.

Hutto, a married father of four, previously claimed that he and Duncan were “playing ... as if they were shooting with their finger and a gun” when he accidentally shot her inside a room at the Hilton Singer Island oceanfront resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

He then fled the hotel room with the weapon and was taken to a hospital days after the shooting when authorities found him parked illegally outside a gas station in St Augustine. Records show that he was “twitching, making delusional comments and crying while his eyes were rolling into the back of his head”.

Duncan’s body was found by police on 29 October 2020 after her parents tracked her cell phone to the hotel room. Hutto was arrested in Jacksonville the next day.

A day before Duncan’s body was found, he allegedly told police at the hospital: “Oh my God, I think I hurt my Gracie.”

The room where Duncan was shot was also registered under Hutto’s name, and his wallet and ID were found inside.

Michael Hutto (left) and Lora Grace Duncan (right) (WPTV Screenshot/Facebook)
Michael Hutto (left) and Lora Grace Duncan (right) (WPTV Screenshot/Facebook)

According to an affidavit, Hutto told police that Duncan was sitting on the hotel room bathroom counter when he shot her in the stomach by mistake.

They had stopped at the resort on their way to the Florida Keys, Hutto told police at the time.

According to Duncan’s father, Hutto had been allegedly keeping Duncan sedated by providing her with unspecified drugs, the New York Post reported.

Hutto sold his shares in Salt Life in 2013 and is no longer associated with the brand, which sells clothing for activities in the outdoors.