Aiden Fucci charged as adult: Florida teen faces life w/ no parole after stabbing St Johns County cheerleader, Tristyn Bailey 114 times.
A 14 year old Florida boy faces life with no parole after allegedly stabbing a 13 year old school cheerleader 114 times, prosecutors said on Thursday as they charged him with first degree, pre-meditated murder .
Aiden Fucci was arrested on May 10, a day after 13 year-old Tristyn Bailey‘s body was found covered with knife wounds in St Johns, Fl.
Initially, the teen boy was charged with second degree murder as a juvenile, as prosecutors spent weeks deliberating whether to upgrade that charge to first degree murder, and whether to process him as an adult.
On Thursday, the district attorney filed paperwork charging Fucci as an adult with first degree pre-meditated murder. It is a capital felony that can carry the death penalty for anyone who committed the crime over the age of 15. He misses that prospective punishment by just a year.
The decision to charge Aiden Fucci as an adult came amidst intense community pressure demanding the 14 year old be charged as an adult in the murder case according to First Coast News.
‘A sad but easy decision to indict teen boy as adult’
Fucci will now face adult penalties if convicted, and even be housed in an adult jail, albeit in a section separate from the general population.
State’s Attorney R.J. Larizza during a Thursday press conference said it was a ‘sad’ but easy decision given how violent the killing was and indicating that his office will seek life without parole.
He indicated prosecutors would seek life without parole but said Aiden will likely be able to appeal it, as part of a wider, ongoing effort to reduce sentences for juveniles, in Florida.
Prosecutors are yet to reveal whether there was any evidence of sexual assault, or if they had uncovered a motive in the brutal slaying.
Of note, prosecutors said that Fucci had been telling friends he planned to kill ‘someone’ in the woods and that Tristyn may simply have been in ‘the wrong place at the wrong time’.
Bailey was a seventh grader at Patriot Oaks Academy in Saint Johns. Fucci was an eighth grader at the same school.
Larizza revealed that Aiden had told friends he was going to kill ‘someone in the woods’ before he murdered Tristyn, and said that it was ‘disturbing’ it wasn’t taken seriously.
Teen made comments he intended to kill someone before slaying cheerleader
‘You’ve heard that our victim Tristyn was stabbed – to say that it was horrific could be argued to be an understatement. The medical examiner completed an autopsy on our victim and identified confidently that there 114 stab wounds,’ Larizza detailed during Thursday’s press conference.
Adding, ‘At least 49 of those were to the hands, arms and head and were defensive.’
‘Premeditation can be inferred from just the sheer number of stab wounds that Tristyn Bailey had to suffer. Every time that arm went back, and every time that arm went down, that was premeditation and it happened 228 times.
‘It’s not just the fact she was stabbed 114 times – it’s also information that we were able to glean from witnesses.
‘The defendant made statements to several people that he intended to kill someone. He didn’t say who that was but he indicated that he was going to kill someone by taking them into the woods and stabbing them which are certainly the facts of this case.’
‘A knife was found in the pond, very close in proximity to our victim’s body. The tip of the knife was located by the medical examiner in the scalp of our victim.’
Potential for capital murder death sentence
Larizza said that he’d never dealt with such a violent crime in his entire career.
He said DNA evidence helped solidify his decision – Aiden’s DNA was found on Tristyn and Tristyn’s was found on Aiden’s clothes and the knife.
‘The juvenile system is geared for kids with drug issues maybe, or who commit non violent crime,’ Larizza said as he explained his decision to charge Fucci as an adult.
‘When you get kids that get tot his level of violence, the time and accountability is not there the adult system is where this case belongs.
‘It was not a difficult decision to make. It’s a sad decision and a sad state of affairs but it was clear to us after we looked at what happened that it was not only appropriate but it was really the only choice we could make.
‘She was fighting for her life. It’s just sad that we even have to talk about that,’ Larizza said on Thursday.
He added there was no indication that Fucci suffers mental health problems or had been seeking treatment for it. He refused to say if Fucci had confessed to the killing.
‘These kids, they’re teenagers, they have their groups and hangout. It started out as just a few kids getting together and hanging out but it didn’t end that way,’ he said.
In Florida, first degree murder can become capital murder if prosecutors can prove that the murder was ‘especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel’, or if it was ‘committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification.’
‘anyone seen Tristyn?’
Tristyn was found hours after she vanished, by a local resident who was out for a walk.
Surveillance camera footage is said to have shown the victim and Fucci walking towards the spot where her body was dumped on the evening of her disappearance, with Fucci walking back alone afterwards.
He had posted on Snapchat a selfie from the back of a police car with the caption ‘anyone seen Tristyn?’
That photo sparked an outcry, with St John’s County Sheriff’s Office saying that Fucci at the time had been taken in for questioning as a person of interest, meaning he had not been arrested, cuffed or had his phone taken off him.
Larizza said on Thursday that the Snapchat post indicated how Aiden had no remorse for his actions, with prosecutors now set to use it to strengthen their case against the teen boy.
Fucci’s next court appearance has not yet been scheduled.