Last Updated: 1:21 p.m.
A Flagler County grand jury on Friday indicted Marion Gavins Jr. on a first-degree murder with a firearm charge, a capital felony, in the death of 18-year-old Curtis Gray on April 13.
R.J. Larizza, the state attorney for the 7th Judicial Circuit, then said he would try Gavins as an adult. Gavins was 17 when he allegedly shot Gray from the backseat of an SUV, as Gray was walking up to the car, unarmed, in a shopping strip parking lot.
Gavins, of 500 North central Avenue, Apartment B., in Flagler Beach, turns 18 on May 16.
He was served his first-degree murder warrant at the Flagler County jail, where he was processed at 9:26 p.m. Friday evening. He was subsequently booked in at Jacksonville’s pre-detention jail at 10:20 Saturday morning, pending his 18th birthday. Flagler County does not have a juvenile detention division in its jail. Since the shooting Gavins had been held by the Division of Juvenile Justice He is not eligible for bond. He had his first appearance before Judge Chris France Saturday. A public defender was appointed to represent him.
“It is a somber reality of our job that sometimes requires the charging of juveniles in adult court,” Larizza was quoted as saying in a release issued by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office this morning. “But some acts are so violent and have such little regard for the value of human life, that the perpetrator has to be held accountable with adult consequences.”
“We fully support the state’s decision and applaud the Grand Jury and State Attorney Larizza,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in the release. “Sadly, this is a young man who exhibited increasingly violent behavior that ultimately caused another teenager’s death. Being tried as an adult is the most appropriate way to prosecute this crime.”
The indictment and adult proceedings mean that all of Gavins’s records relating to the murder and many of his records as a juvenile are being unsealed. It also sheds additional light on the investigation that led to Gavins being charged in Gray’s murder.
The arrest report released Friday includes some information that had been made public before, and some that had not. Gavins had been at the Blaze n Flame Smoke Shop near the intersection of Belle Terre Parkway and Palm Coast Parkway after midnight on April 13 when Gray walked in. Seeing Gavins in there, he quickly walked back out and went to talk with his friends at his car, telling them he wanted to confront Gavins over Gavins “posting disrespectful things on social media.” Gray couldn’t see Gavins back in the shop, but noticed him back in the SUV, sitting in the rear passenger seat of a GMC Yukon.
“As the SUV began to reverse [Gray] began to approach the SUV,” Gavins’s arrest report states. Gavins “then pointed a handgun at [Gray] and fired it one time.” [Gray] was struck in the abdomen and collapsed to the floor.” (The arrest report mistakenly states that “the defendant” was struck in the abdomen.)
Just before the shooting, according to a witness’ account investigators, Teresa/Alex Slagado, who was in the SUV with Gavins, asked Gray at one point “if he wanted smoke (street slang for being shot),” the arrest report states. Another witness who was in the car said Gavins told the driver to stop the car as Gray was approaching. After firing the gun, he allegedly told the driver to head for 23 Woodfair Lane, site of a subsequent search by sheriff’s deputies, accompanied by the SWAT team.
The arrest report also reveals that a sheriff’s deputy spoke to Gray in the ambulance heading to Halifax hospital before Gray died. Gray “stated a light skinned male with a neck tattoo whom he believed was named ‘Alex’ is the person who shot him,” the report states. But it was Gavins, according to the report, who told occupants at the Woodfair home that he had just shot a man at a gas station. (Gavins has a neck tattoo that spells “Ariana.”) Gavins allegedly “said the victim was approaching the vehicle and he thought he was reaching for a gun in his pocket, so he shot him,” the report states. “It should be noted that no firearm was located on or around the body of the victim on scene.”
Gavins eluded police for 36 hours before his mother Krista Maurer turned him in at the sheriff’s Palm Coast District Office in mid-afternoon April 14.
One of the more revealing documents released with Gavins’s adult status is the original juvenile court warrant charging him with first-degree murder, a 17-page document that fills in Gavins’s criminal history through the juvenile justice system. The document traces Gavins’s first charge to October 2012 when he faced a battery charge: he was four months past his 11th birthday. The charge was not filed. A year later, he was again charged with battery. The charge was not filed. When he was 13 he faced two marijuana charges, resulting in a sentence of probation. Five months later he was charged with bringing a knife to Indian Trails Middle School which he was attending at the time. That resulted in more probation, which he violated five times. In 2016, when he was 14, he was again charged with battery, and again the charge was not filed. Six weeks later he was charged with assault and got probation, which he followed with five violations. It was during that period when he was first committed to juvenile detention. Upon his release, he was again charged with battery and again returned to detention, though the charge was dropped that October.
The record reveals one other matter salient to his future detentions: in 2016, he was considered a suicide risk. His record indicates no further issues until the April 13 shooting.
The record also reveals that he had himself been the victim of parental neglect.
A first-degree murder charge means the murder was premeditated. Gavins’s defense will likely aim for a plea and a reduction to a second-degree murder charge–still a first degree felony that carries the possibility of life in prison, though the mandatory floor of the sentence is lower than for a first-degree murder charge. The case may have close similarities to that of Paul Miller, the former Flagler Beach man who shot and killed his neighbor as the two were arguing across a fence in 2012. Miller, 65 at the time of the shooting, claimed he feared the victim, Dana Mulhall, was reaching for a gun. Mulhall was unarmed. Miller shot him five times, four times in the back. He was sentenced to life in prison. Miller’s defense had briefly considered a stand your ground defense, but did not go ahead with it in the end.
Gray was a senior at Flagler Palm Coast High School, and an athlete on its track team, after playing three years on Matanzas High School’s football team. Gavins had attended Flagler County schools until his expulsion from Indian Trails Middle School over a gun he’d allegedly stolen but not brought to school, though he’d brought a knife to school.
…..And a life of crime ends at age 17 – bye bye homey
Alex should go along then Alex’s dad will have some more things to talk about.
it all comes down to why were these children in possession of guns, and shooting each other on the streets like the Ole West?
Josh Davis says
As a criminal defense attorney, this seems like a political move. The victim approaches the defendant in the store. Words are exchanged. The victim goes outside to get his boys. The defendant gets in the car to leave. The victim then approaches the car to settle a beef. His boys are most likely with him. Victim then gets shot. It sounds like our victim was provoking an altercation. So, charge the kid as an adult with premeditated murder. Sounds like bull$#!+. The kid doesn’t deserve to be dead, but sometimes poor decisions end up with bad consequences. It’s not always black and white.
What a way to spend the next70+ years. Y ou are where you belong.
RIP Mr. Gray
Outside Looking Out says
I think whoever wrote this article needs to catch up on their street slang.
I’m fairly certain that “smoke” means: weed, pot, grass,dope, reefer and herb. Marijuana!
I think, as I have all along, this was drug related. That’s why all these fine upstanding citizens were hanging out at a “smoke shop”.
The parenthetical statement about smoke was in the original arrest report, in parenthesis as shown here. It was not our interpretation.
It;s a grave mistake to keep turning a juvenile criminal offender back over to a neglectful incompetent parent, time and time again. This young man tragically illustrates the tragedy that can result from that kind of policy.
first time felon says
I don’t usually agree with attorney Josh Davis, but I agree and now believe there is truth to that. Unfortunately, we all don’t process threats and confrontations the same way. What may be considered a fair fight or mutual combat might turn out that way in the end. Sad story.
asking someone if they want smoke is “street slang” for a fight, getting shot etc etc
not if they WANT TO smoke.
that’s todays terms…
Steve Robinson says
Responding to the comment from Josh Davis: Whether or not you are angling to represent the accused, your assertion as an attorney that young Mr. Gray “was provoking an altercation” and, by implication, deserved to get shot strikes me–a thoroughly neutral observer of this tragedy–as pretty outrageous. “Sometimes poor decisions end up with bad consequences”?? Really?? Why don’t we throw up our hands and just issue everyone a handgun so that every dispute, large or small, can be settled with an armed duel in a parking lot, and the winner is whoever has the better aim. Jeez. At least that way we wouldn’t need lawyers.
I knew this child while he was in the 3rd grade and he told the office staff that he was going to rape a girl in his class… he has always had issues with violence.
Stop trying to retain a client Josh Davis
He IS AND WAS A GANG MEMBER! LOOK FURTHER ON TO THOSE ON FEDERAL LN. GANGSTER DISCIPLE white boys too scared to stand on there own
“smoke” is street slang for beef, problems, etc. If you are asking for smoke it could mean anything from a diss track to a hit. Typically among younger kids it would refer to a physical altercation.
Randy Jones says
Hey Josh Davis – so you were there and you witnessed this event first hand from start to finish?
first time felon says
@ Outside Looking Outside. Whether the “smoke” statement was literal is yet to be decided. However sayings like “Do you want static” is similar to that actual statement. James Brown made a song called “Static” listen to the words. “You want smoke?” Well, what comes out of the barrel of a gun? A Muzzle Flash or fire. What follows behind that? Smoke! To quote, for those who haven’t lived it. “I’m going to put fire to you!” Or “Do you want that heat? How about “You’re about to get lit up.” I think maybe you need to brush up on the slang.
“Outside Looking Out” the way the term was used “you want smoke” means do you want a problem
FPC Grad says
Please throw the book at him. He obviously should of already been off the streets and the system failed at that. Unfortunate that a life ended tragically due to the hands of this sick individual. Please do not fail again and let another tragedy take place at the hands of this “man”
Outside Looking Out says
To all that replied:
I stand corrected on the “smoke” slang.
I have to admit I am old and the sources I was using (a Massachusett teacher’s slang dictionary) is obsolete. The times, they are a’changin’. LOL.
This still does not alter my opinion that drugs were involved. Whatever the reason for these young people and their families’ lives to be so drastically impacted doesn’t diminish the tragedy.
@Outside looking out As someone who spent 10 years of my life in TAXACHUSETTS(worst time of my life) You may want to get rid of anything you brought from TAXACHUSETTS, It is useless trash.