On the day Tristyn Bailey’s family learned her killer was sentenced to life in a Florida prison, her father expressed frustration with some of the apologies extended by their 13-year-old daughter’s murderer, Aiden Fucci, and his family.
Speaking outside the St. Johns County Courthouse where Judge R. Lee Smith handed down the life term, Forrest Bailey criticized Fucci’s handwritten apology submitted to the court during his sentencing hearing, saying “From his behavior at court, at no point has his actions fell in line with the letter. And I believe it is due to the coaching of the defense.”
And to Fucci’s mother, Crystal Lane Smith, Bailey referred to the open criminal court case against her on charges of tampering with evidence: “The fact that we are continuing to have to go through the legal process makes the apology questionable. You’ve seen the videos from the home. You’ve seen the videos from the interrogation room. I would say if she is sorry, she can start by accepting responsibility.”
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Bailey, though, struck a different tone for Fucci’s grandmother, Deborah Spiwak, the only family member to speak on behalf of Fucci and to the Bailey family during the 16-year-old's sentencing hearing this week.
“Your apology on the stand really touched us,” Bailey said. “It was the first time anyone in your family had acknowledged that and we feel for you as we can tell how much you are hurting.”
Bailey also implored the community to extend kindness to Fucci’s extended family.
"They should be given grace for the pain they are going through. They should not be given additional hardship,” he said. “Tristyn had a good friend amongst his extended family, and treating them poorly based on Aiden’s crime does not honor her memory or her spirit.”
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Aiden Fucci: Florida teen's apology condemned by Tristyn Bailey family