Crimes like this just aren't supposed to happen in St. Johns County, or any part of the country for that matter: A 13-year-old girl suffers 114 stab wounds and a 14-year-old classmate is deemed responsible.
On Monday, Aiden Sean Fucci, now 16, is scheduled to go to trial charged as an adult with the first-degree murder of Tristyn Bailey.
She had been briefly reported missing on Mother's Day weekend in 2021 and last seen walking with Fucci in their Durbin Creek neighborhood shortly after 1 a.m. on May 9, the Sheriff's Office said. A neighbor would later find the Patriot Oaks Academy cheerleader's body about 6 p.m. in a wooded area that day.
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Aiden Fucci case: What we know about the death of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey
When is the trial of Aiden Fucci?
Jury selection begins Feb. 6 in the St. Johns County Courthouse. It's expected to last most of the week.
What criminal charges does Aiden Fucci face at trial?
He was indicted on a first-degree murder count, premeditated and charged as an adult.
If convicted on the charges, what possible sentence does Aiden Fucci face?
Although he was charged as an adult with first-degree murder, due to being a juvenile he is not eligible for the death penalty if found guilty. He does face 40 years to life in prison. After serving 25 years of a life term, the judge can review the possibility of a lighter sentence, according to Florida law.
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How many jurors will Aiden Fucci's trial have?
The judge granted a State Attorney's Office motion for a six-person jury instead of the 12 required for capital cases. Six people make up the jury for other criminal cases. The state had argued that due to Fucci being 14 at the time, it is not a capital case.
Was a change of venue considered?
The defense filed for a new location for the trial due to the immense publicity but was denied. The judge advised the matter will be revisited if it becomes clear during jury selection that they cannot impanel an impartial jury.
Who are the attorneys and judge in Aiden Fucci's trial?
The prosecutors are led by Jennifer Lynne Dunton and Kristin DePaula, while the main defense attorney is Rosemarie Wright Peoples. The judge is R. Lee Smith.
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What happened to Tristyn Bailey?
In Fucci's arrest report, he confirmed being with his Patriot Oaks Academy classmate at a mutual friend’s house and leaving with her about 1:10 a.m. on May 9, 2021. He said they got into an argument and he pushed her to the ground, striking her head. He said he walked around awhile until getting to his Castledale Court home about 3:30 a.m.
Security video showed the two walking from the Durbin Amenity Center on North Durbin Parkway about 1:15 a.m. At 1:45 a.m. they also were seen walking on Saddlestone Drive, but only him again at 3:30 a.m. on the same street and heading the opposite direction and carrying his shoes. When interviewed, he said he took them off because his feet hurt.
Bailey's body was found toward the end of a retention pond not far from Saddlestone or Fucci’s home. The medical examiner said Bailey had 114 stab wounds, 49 that were deemed defensive.
Evidence against Aiden Fucci: Knife at crime scene linked to blade fragment in Tristyn Bailey killing, report shows
Why would Aiden Fucci kill Tristyn Bailey?
Investigators later learned Fucci told friends he was going to kill someone by taking them into the woods and stabbing them. It is unclear why Bailey was that someone, if she rejected him or what their argument was about.
In recently released interviews to First Coast News, his girlfriend said he always carried a knife with him — he had two nicknamed "Picker" and "Poker" — when out of school and talked about killing people and even her. He would come up from behind her and pretend to slit her throat. But she said she never took it seriously. She also said he claimed to hear voices in his head when he was angry.
What evidence is there against Aiden Fucci and who might testify?
Fucci's buck knife was found in a nearby pond and the broken-off tip in Bailey's skull, the Sheriff's Office said. Court records also list security video, DNA, clothing, receipts for two knives, cellphone records and emails, Snapchats, recorded phone calls and texts from jail and interviews with friends, family, teachers and fellow inmates while being detained in jail. Many of the latter likely will testify along with forensic investigators, detectives and Florida Department of Law Enforcement analysts. It is unclear if Fucci will be called to the stand.
What incidents have Aiden Fucci been involved in while in jail?
Sheriff's Office incident reports document multiple instances of Fucci being involved in fights, having contraband, bullying inmates out of their commissary items, threatening them and being combative with guards and making threats against them. He has had to be pepper sprayed and restrained on more than one occasion. An inmate also said Fucci asserted that he was "real" because he stabbed a girl face to face, unlike others who resorted to shooting someone.
What is known about Aiden Fucci's parents?
On June 5, 2021, his mother Crystal Lane Smith, now 37, was charged with tampering with evidence after home security video showed her scrubbing blood out of her son's jeans the day Bailey was killed. She is awaiting trial.
Court records show his father, 38-year-old Jason Michael Fucci, was charged with battery in 2016 when he assaulted a man at a gas station after he nearly bumped his son with his car. It's unclear if that was Aiden, but the father was sentenced to six months’ probation and anger management.
In 2003 at age 19 he also was charged with lewd or lascivious battery and child abuse for having consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl. Court records show he was sentenced to two years’ probation but then 14 months in prison for violating the terms. That same year a repeat violence injunction involving a uniform child custody jurisdiction and enforcement act was filed against him. Those records were not available.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Aiden Fucci: Florida teen on trial in stabbing death of Tristyn Bailey