Aiden Fucci’s mom to change plea in evidence tampering in connection to Tristyn Bailey’s murder
Crystal Smith’s evidence tampering trial appears to be ending before it starts.
Action News Jax has learned Smith is expected to change her plea at a court appearance Friday at 1:30 p.m. Smith’s son, Aiden Fucci, is serving a life sentence in the murder of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey.
>>> STREAM ACTION NEWS JAX LIVE <<<
Action News Jax law and safety expert, Dale Carson said if she pleads guilty, she accepts responsibility.
“She is saying, ‘look I did something wrong; it was inappropriate what I did.’”
Surveillance video shows Smith washing the blood off her son’s pants he was wearing the night he killed Tristyn. If she pleads guilty to third-degree felony charges, she could face a maximum of five years in custody. But Carson said mitigating factors could reduce the severity of her sentence.
“We want mom to protect their children, that’s the very nature of existence,” Carson said. “That offers some mitigation.”
Jury selection was scheduled to begin next Monday with the trial starting next Wednesday.
[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]
The Bailey family, which goes by the nickname the “Bailey 7,” released the following statement through their attorney Matthew Hinson:
“The family is aware of the plan for her to plea tomorrow and they were involved in the negotiations alongside assistant state attorney Jenny Dunton. They are appreciative of the hard work of the St. Johns’ County Sheriff’s Department and the 7th Circuit State Attorney’s Office! Tomorrow, the Tristyn Bailey Foundation looks forward to making a major announcement regarding the foundation’s hard work toward victim advocacy and continuing to shine Tristyn’s legacy with the world.”
With more than three decades of experience, Carson says since negotiations involve a guilty plea, there might not be an investigation by the probation officer.
“She would enter the plea, the court would accept it, and if there were an actual prison sentence or a jail sentence attached to it, she would immediately be put in handcuffs.”
[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]
Earlier this week, at a memorial event for Tristyn Bailey, her dad, Forrest, spoke with us and said he can’t comment on Smith, but just wants to move forward and focus on his daughter’s legacy.
“This process has been difficult to go through,” he said.
Carson said once you enter a plea, you can’t reverse it. So, if Smith pleads guilty, the trial will be over.
Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.