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For Marion Gavins Jr., 17, Accused of Murdering Curtis Gray, a Life of Crime Since He Was 13

| April 15, 2019

Marion Leo Gavins Jr. has not been in and out of the criminal justice system since his first arrest when he was 13, left. The picture to the right is a still from a self-made video as he drove to turn himself in Sunday, on a first-degree murder charge.

Marion Leo Gavins Jr. has not been in and out of the criminal justice system since his first arrest when he was 13, left. The picture to the right is a still from a self-made video as he drove to turn himself in Sunday, on a first-degree murder charge.

When Marion L. Gavins Jr.’s mother was driving him Sunday afternoon to the sheriff’s Palm Coast substation so he could turn himself in on a first-degree murder warrant in the death of 18-year-old Curtis Gray, Gavins was 33 days shy of his 18th birthday. That ride, what may be his very last ride as a free civilian for decades, was the culmination of four years of run-ins with school authorities, sheriff’s deputies and Flagler Beach police, suspensions, expulsions, arrests, stints in the criminal justice system’s juvenile division, probation and house arrest.


In those four years he’d been expelled from school, he’d been arrested twice on felony charges–before Sunday–and twice on misdemeanors, one of those times over a domestic violence incident where his mother was the victim. Sunday’s arrest was the gravest, but not the first involving weapons: in 2014 he’d been arrested for bringing a knife to school, and had given a stolen gun to a friend for safekeeping at a time when he was thought to be in a gang. The friend’s mother called him “trouble.”

Gavins’s first arrest, a felony, dates back to when he was 13 and a student at Indian Trails Middle School. His teacher smelled burnt marijuana emitting from his backpack. Administrators advised him that he’d be the subject of a search and asked him if they should be concerned about anything on him or in his belongings. He said No. But they found two pieces of paper individually wrapped that contained marijuana, according to his arrest report.

Gavins claimed he and a school friend had planted seeds just south of the school in a wooded area, behind a blue shed on the Indian Trails Sports Complex grounds. A search of the area produced no marijuana plants. He was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school. His school discipline at the time is not clear, but is likely to have resulted in suspension. If it did, Gavins was allowed back at school not long after.

That March, when he was still 13, he was called down to the dean’s office after a stolen gun was located at the house of another student on Paul Lane in Palm Coast. The child’s mother had been alerted about the gun by a friend who alleged that Gavins and the other boy may have joined a gang, that Gavins had gotten possession of a gun and passed it to her son. The child’s mother checked in his room and found a .380 Glock wrapped in a yellow bandana in a silver metallic box, under the dresser. The box also contained a wallet and a birth certificate that may have belonged to the gun’s owner. The gun had been reported stolen from the W Section. When the sheriff’s office investigated the matter, it learned from relatives of the boy that Gavins and the boy had allegedly joined the Crips gang.

Gavins would not speak with school authorities when he was called to the dean’s office, asking for a lawyer–as he did Sunday after his arrest. But when his backpack was searched–since school authorities were concerned that a weapon could be on campus–they found an 8-inch kitchen knife concealed in a backpack pocket. Gavins was again arrested and charged with possession of a weapon on school grounds as well as probation violation. He was expelled and sentenced to home detention.

In February 2016, he was charged with a misdemeanor count of domestic violence, with his mother as the victim. Unlike reports of felony arrests of juveniles, which are public under Florida law, reports of juveniles’ misdemeanor arrests are not. So details of that arrest are not available.

Eight months later, the Flagler Beach Police Department arrested Gavins. He’d violated his home detention, another misdemeanor.

The Flagler school district confirmed that Gavin’s withdrew from Flagler schools in August 2016 and had not returned since.

Little is known so far about Gavins’s life outside of those arrests, beside the fact that his parents divorced years ago, his mother had to take his biological father to court to get child support, and his father, Marion Leo Gavins, has a criminal record of his own, and is currently serving a 15-month sentence in state prison for felony battery–a charge reduced from what had initially been charged as a sexual assault. He would have avoided prison had he not violated probation. 

Early Saturday morning, sheriff’s detectives say Gavin and Curtis Gray, an 18-year-old senior at Flagler Palm Coast High School, had words outside of a Palm Coast smoke shop on Belle Terre Parkway. Gavins was in the backseat of an SUV. He allegedly pulled out a 9mm gun and shot Gray. Gray collapsed and died later. In a video of himself before he turned himself in, Gavins all but admits to shooting Gray, claiming Gray “reached” first, intimating that Gray was going to pull out a weapon. Authorities found no weapon on or near Gray.

Gavins was transported to Daytona Beach for detention by the Department of Juvenile Justice, where he remains.

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20 Responses for “For Marion Gavins Jr., 17, Accused of Murdering Curtis Gray, a Life of Crime Since He Was 13”

  1. Thurston Howell III says:

    Absolutely senseless killing! Everyone involved here loses out. So sad to see this happening.

  2. Tooters27 says:

    Say a prayer for all involved.

  3. Mark101 says:

    Its really time to send pucks like this to death roll. Gavins made the decision to kill, it was his choice to take a persons life. Gavins had a choice, he chose the wrong one. Now some smart talking attorney will say the kid didn’t know what he was doing,he went all mental at that moment, well a lethal injection only take a moment as well.

  4. Outside Looking Out says:

    Well, Flagler/Palm Coast this should be a wake-up call as to what your “paradise” has become. This tragic situation, terrible as it is, is not by any means an isolated incident. A tragic death occurred but this is just the results of this one individual occurrence. Every night there are teens and young people wandering the streets, looking for a party, drinking, and doing drugs. Don’t think that these kids are from low income families only, it’s ALL young people.You’ll see very high dollar automobiles cruising right along with the 1999 chevys. Visit an all night store and take a look around.Check out the secluded parking lots, the public parks and other less public places, you’ll see all classes of young people drunk and stoned. There’s no discrimination of class or color. Ask any midnight shift LEO, they’ll tell you what’s happening and what they have to endure. There are arguments and fights every night but this time, somebody had a gun and used it. That’s not to say that there are not other guns out there, they just haven’t been used.

    You parents who say, “not my child”, well think again. Where do you think your little angels are until the wee hours of the morning? What do you think they’re doing? Do you honestly think they are at the library or at a study group? Wake Up!… or do you even care.

    I hurt for the family of a young man who is now dead. I hurt for the family of a young man whose life is changed forever. I pray they find piece in God or whomever they choose to believe in.

    I pray that families learn from this tragedy and take steps to enlighten their young ones and teach them well.

  5. Concerned citizen says:

    This is heartbreaking on so many levels. I cannot imagine what that boys parents and his friends are going through right now.

  6. Parent Says says:

    And here we have yet anther reason the School Board is a joke…
    Do they not look at these folks on a case-by-case basis? Can they not see patterns?
    Or are they under the Obama spell of not allowing troublemakers be kicked off campus for good?
    They put innocent teachers and students at risk by allowing this, and other hooligans, to continually have access to school grounds.
    We need a serious overhaul of the School Board… and anyone who has shown similar signs or has had similar issues needs to be kicked off the property immediately.
    Watch the video and you tell me if he was at school for an education…

  7. Steve says:

    DB in juvenile detention ??? Got to be kidding SMH The video alone is a confession. What do these never do wells have to do in order for we the people to get Justice. Oh that’s right MURDER . The Judges let criminals go time after time and now the blood is on your hands. For beating his own Mother he should have been sent way. I SEE the same results by the same criminals sentenced by the same Judges over and over and its not working for me. Build more prisons and lock these people up.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully they will all do us a favor and purge themselves from society, no lost .

  9. ASF says:

    What are the chances that part of his gang activities was drug dealing and that Mom was sometimes the beneficiary of his “criminal career”, one way or another? Sorry–but I have seen that sad story play out too many times.

  10. concerned citizen #2 says:

    @Outside Looking Out..Very well spoken and I agree you you. This didn’t have to happen. Now this Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Uncle, Niece, Cousin, etc. Will never ser this young man again…

    Palm Coast has gotten so bad over the course of the years. When will it change…
    Wake up Parwnrs..Time to be more STRICTER with your teenage kids..
    Time to keep them in the house after dark.
    Parents, it’s time to put the bottle down and be Real Parents..
    Time to know where your kids are at night..
    Enough is Enough…

    WAKE UP PARENTS

  11. Anon. says:

    I used to work with Curtis’ mother. She is one of the sweetest and most uplifting people I’ve ever come in contact with. My heart breaks for her and her family. These actions should not be happening. These are children! They hadn’t even begun their lives, yet. Curtis was about to graduate next month. He had so much potential. Now, his life was lost and his killer should’ve been put away years ago, but will probably get a slap on the wrist. Unbelievably sad.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wow didnt realize untill the 2013 pic on the left knew this kid since elementary hes always been introuble always been a dirtbag some things just dont change.
    I met curtis in middle school and can honestly say he has always been true to his word, determined, and so humble and caring always had a smile, made me smile on days i didnt want to without trying. Sad to see his promising future taken by some lowlife playing thug theres no need for that BS R.I.P Curtis Gray #LLC

  13. Anonymous says:

    Palm Coast didn’t just become this , it has been like this for a very very long time. the police are just too busy looking the other way to actually keep people safe. Leo is not a cold blooded killer, he’s a young man that made a terrible mistake.

  14. Heyhihello says:

    I hope the judge isn’t lenient on him. With his record he clearly didn’t learn any lesson and now a child is dead. He will never get to experience college, marriage. fatherhood… over what? No argument is worth killing somebody. The fact that he turned himself in and has a lawyer probably will benefit him though. He probably won’t get the death penalty, lets just hope he gets life and hope his lawyer sucks. Won’t be surprised at all if he gets anything less though. Prayers for the family 💕

  15. Mary Fusco says:

    so sad that society has decided we need no home life and this is the result,

  16. Concerned Flagler parent says:

    Parent Says

    I’m not disputing that the school board doesn’t need to do a better job of handling discipline in this county. He’ll half the incidents get buried and hidden from parents, but Gavin’s is a dropout. The article says he hasn’t been back to school since 2014 and obviously wasn’t in search of an education. It doesn’t seem as though his parents had much say so in his education. It could be that’s why he beat up his mom. She woke him up and told him to get his butt to school! Gavin’s is a houligan with a great example for a daddy. This incident doesn’t reside on the school boards shoulders…this time!

  17. Wow says:

    So we’ve proved time and again that late intervention doesn’t work. Why no early intervention? These clues were huge. Now a young man is dead and another is going to prison for a long time.

  18. Logan says:

    Everyone makes mistakes. He even said that he thought Curtis was reaching for a gun. PC has a lot of trouble makers. Stop judging people.

  19. Truth Speaks says:

    This is a very tragic situation indeed. From a young man with problems that was “in the system” to the young male athlete. We can’t pick and choose. Young people, like us as adults, lead double lives. They are one person to their parents an another to their friends. This happens because of something called culture.

    When a child is born they don’t come into this world as an athlete, nor do they come into this world a killer. What they are exposed to from birth until the time this incident occurred is due to how they were raised. CHildren don’t ask to be here, nor do they want to be evil. This is the hand they are dealt from how they are treated.

    I guarantee when Gavins pulled the trigger he was NOT in his right mind and he didn’t think of the outcome of what would eventually happen as a result of pulling the trigger. Hate made Gavins pull the trigger. A child that was not properly taught how to deal with the real world is who pulled the trigger. Discipline has been pushed away as if it is some disease!

    Now two families are torn in this incident. Two families no longer have their sons. Two families wake up day after day, since this incident, with their lives in turmoil. One family will never see their son again and the other family will see their son behind bars. So this is how we do it. This incident could of been totally avoided.

    Parents teach your children what consequences are from a child learning to walk. Teach them what they need to know about making proper choices. Teach your children how to deal with anger! Should everything be “cute” when we know they are wrong leads to children that can not deal with stress, nor do they know how to react to it.

    All it took is one second to change both lives forever. We jump on the wagon too quick when it comes to blame. We blame and find a sick kind of love in what happens to the blamed. Know your children, teach them how to deal with life that we know, and the consequences of every action. without any of these three items of life…your child could be next.

    Use this situation as a teaching moment. It’s never too late to teach or to learn! Strangers be more open to children. Stop judging children before you even make an attempt to know them. Be the change!

    This whole situation is involving raising of children. Things happened way before Gavin had his first run in with the law. Things happened in the life of Curtis Gray before he turned 17. WE DO NOT KNOW THE LIVES OF EITHER. Stop with the judgment and look at the problem. If you’re not actively engaged with either of these young people then politely remove yourself.

    Prayers for both families. Prayers for Ms. Carmen while she buries her son. Prayers for Gavin’s family as they bury their son.

    Solutions not problems

  20. Longman says:

    So Truth Speaks/ when Gavin pulled the trigger he didn’t know the out come? Put your head back in the sand. Bad seed, sorry you had a bad up bringing.. man up, pull the trigger suffer the consequences tuff guy.

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