Letter from Aiden Fucci's father to judge: 'This tragedy blindsided all of us'

In the days before Aiden Fucci, 16, is to be sentenced for the 2021 stabbing death of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey in St. Johns County, his biological father wrote this letter to the judge with his wife.

There are so many things we want to say, and it's not that we don't have enough words, but we are struggling to find the right ones. There are no words to right this wrong. Those words don't exist in this situation. All we can do is express the absolute sorrow we feel within ourselves as parents and for everyone impacted by what occurred. No words can even convey the utter heartbreak and pain we have all been enduring, each of us processing in our own ways. It is a different kind of pain to grieve the living while mourning the child of another. Pieces of ourselves remain broken as we struggle to move forward, trying to understand the circumstances of what happened.

Aiden truly is a kind and caring boy who has the love and support of an entire community of family - his parents, grandparents, stepparents, brothers, sisters, cousins, teachers, coaches and even his Boy Scout troop. He is our baby of the family - only 14 at the time, not even old enough to drive. This tragedy blindsided all of us.

We have so many positive and happy memories with Aiden, his 2 brothers, and 2 sisters, upholding and creating traditions that we carried on as a family. After school and doctors' appointments, we would stop by Sweet Frog or Jeremiah's Italian Ice and if you rode "shotgun" you got to pick the playlist on the drive home. Aiden liked sitting up front and his taste in music was so diverse and included anything from 90's hip hop to John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" - a song that was sure to get the whole truck howling out of tune. If it was our weekend, every first Saturday of the month, we would take the family to Home Depot for Kids Workshops and every second Saturday, we would all go to Cars and Coffee. Aiden enjoys building cars with us just as much as he loves baking with his cousins. We remember waking up Christmas morning and deciding in that moment to drive north because Aiden had never seen snow. We ended up on Blue Ridge Mountain, where Aiden made his first snow angel and had his first snowball fight.

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Like most normal teenagers, he also loves video games and his phone. He especially likes mobile games where we could all download the game and play together, but he also respected that dinner with family was sacred and would often remind his siblings, "No phones at the table!". We had some of our best conversations over homemade chicken n' dumplings, which is his favorite. Aiden has always been such a thoughtful boy. He has what most would consider traditional manners. He is the first to hold the door open for a stranger, he still says "please" and "thank you", addresses people as "ma'am" or "sir", and will bring you a blanket if you are cold. Aiden was never "too old" or "too cool" to build a gingerbread house with his siblings or let his cousin paint his fingernails. He never turned down the opportunity to play with Legos, color Easter eggs, or sculpt some clay. We still have the clay cowboy he gave us, which he made the same day his teacher commended him on improving his reading grade.

We will never forget Aiden's adoration and patience for animals. While homeschooling during the pandemic, you would often see him doing schoolwork with our family cat laying in his lap like a baby. A lot of times when our dogs were nowhere to be found, we would find them sleeping with Aiden wherever he was in the house. Whenever we were out fishing, Aiden would frequently pick up lizards, snakes, and even bunnies using a gentle hand to show us and then release them back where he originally found them. He even showed one of us how to cradle baby chicks for the first time.

Many of our other memories with Aiden involves his love of water, like when he boldly went boogie boarding at the Jetties on a day when the surf was high. On another day we took the entire family to Big Talbot where they played "the ground is lava". He was so silly jumping from tree to tree and climbing vines. Of course we had to end that perfect beach day with some Publix subs - ham and black olives for Aiden, always. On our last family adventure, May 1, 2021, we took the kids tubing, had lunch at Whitey's Fish Camp, and then picked up some bait at the tackle shop. Aiden even learned how to drive the boat that day. He loves anything with an engine and spent a lot of time riding ATVs, mudding, and racing go-carts. He loves paintballing and we remember he would ask to borrow the green flight suit because it was lucky and made him feel invincible, like Superman.

This is the Aiden we know. This is the boy we remember. The same boy who sat between us at the movie theater, slurping his white cherry Icee, asking if we thought this was going to be a good movie. The same boy that would say "I love you" at the most random time. A 14-year-old kid trying his best to navigate through his adolescent years - mostly fearless, sometimes apprehensive, but always our son.

We respectfully request the Court's compassion and mercy.


Jason and Yasmin

February 22, 2023

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Jason Fucci's letter to judge in case of son, Aiden Fucci in St. Johns