Former UNF student sentenced in case of girlfriend’s 2017 death

Lauren Fox, Managing Editor

A former University of North Florida student was sentenced to one year in jail Thursday for killing his girlfriend in 2017 and lying to authorities, claiming she committed suicide, according to the Duval County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s (CORE) office.

Sean Lovins, now 31, was 27 when he accidentally shot 22-year-old Aunesty Hite in the head after they arrived home from a bar, according to the warrant for his arrest. 

“Lovins said he was sleeping when he was awoken by a gunshot. A .45 caliber pistol identified as belonging to Lovins was located on the living room floor,” read the warrant. “Additional testing conducted on Lovins indicated the presence of gunshot residue on Lovins’ left hand. Lovins denied touching the pistol during the 911 call.”

He was arrested in November 2018 for second-degree murder, according to CORE documents. Shortly after, he filed a written plea of not guilty. 

On April 28, 2022, he pled guilty to manslaughter as part of an agreement with the state, according to CORE. By pleading guilty to manslaughter, Lovins faced less serious consequences than he would have if convicted of his inital charge of second-degree murder.

The State Attorney’s Office determined that Hite’s shooting was not premeditated, according to his warrant for arrest. Authorities determined the couple were playing with the gun before Hite was shot, according to News4Jax.

After his arrest, Lovins stayed in jail until October 2020 when he was released on house arrest. On May 19, Lovins was admitted into jail to serve a 310-day sentence, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Department of Corrections. He was also sentenced to five years of probation after his release.

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