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Palm Coast Sunday, Apr. 14, 2019 3 months ago

Marion Gavins Jr. in custody, charged with first-degree murder in death of Curtis Gray

Gray's death was the first homicide in Flagler County in 2019.
by: Ray Boone Sports Editor

After a 36-hour investigation, the suspect in the murder of 18-year-old Flagler Palm Coast High School student Curtis Gray has been arrested, Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said at a press conference on the afternoon of Sunday, April 14.

Marion Lee Gavins Jr., 17, of Palm Coast, got into an altercation with Gray outside Coin Laundry on Belle Terre near Palm Coast Parkway at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, April 13. Deputies found Gray bleeding from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He was taken to Halifax Health, where he died.

Deputies were able to identify Gavins, a previous offender, as a suspect nearly 12 hours after the shooting. 

Deputies conducted a felony traffic stop on a car leaving the suspect's house on Saturday afternoon. Deputies, along with a SWAT team, served a search warrant at a residence on Woodfaire Lane in Palm Coast on Saturday afternoon. The vehicle the suspect was in during the shooting was located in the garage but the suspect was not in the home, and he was not in the vehicle that was previously stopped.

At 11 p.m. Saturday, a first-degree murder warrant was issued for Gavins' arrest.

“Our team did not give up. They put the pressure on," Staly said. "Our deputies and detectives did a great job.”

At around 2 p.m. Sunday, deputies spoke with Gavins' mom, who wished to turn him in. She agreed to meet at the Sheriff's District 2 Office in Palm Coast. Gavins turned himself in at 3 p.m.

“These things can end very poorly for the suspect," Staly said. "I think the mom was trying to keep her son alive because he was obviously making bad decisions. So I’m glad that she did that.”

Staly said he has already spoken with State Attorney R.J. Larizza and requested that Gavins be charged as an adult. There is no known motive “for this senseless killing," he added.

In addition, Gavins has a criminal history dating back to 2014. He was arrested in October 2014 for sale of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school. He was arrested in 2015 for violation of probation and possession of a weapon on school campus (an 8-inch kitchen knife). And he was arrested in 2016 for domestic violence.

Gray's death was the first homicide in Flagler County in 2019.

“This is a tragedy for two families,” Staly said. "One who has lost a son who was an aspiring athlete. And the other who’s son will likely spend the rest of his life in prison or possibly face the death penalty."

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