A Florida teenager has pleaded guilty to the brutal stabbing murder of 13-year-old cheerleader Tristyn Bailey, according to reports.
Before the jury pool is selected for Aiden Fucci’s first-degree murder trial in St. Johns County on Monday, CBS 47 reports.
On Mother’s Day in 2021, Aiden Fucci, who was 14 at the time of the alleged murder, is accused of stabbing Bailey 114 times and then burying her body close to her St. Johns house in a wooded area.
“I just want to apologize to the Bailey family,” Fucci said when asked if he would like to make a statement to the court, according to News 4 Jax. Circuit Judge R. Lee Smith then asked Fucci if he needed more time to think about his decision, but Fucci declined the offer.
Fucci, despite being young, is being tried as an adult for first-degree murder. The day after Bailey’s dismembered body was discovered adjacent to a retention pond not far from her home on May 10, 2021, he was taken into custody.
Aiden Fucci, teen accused of stabbing cheerleader Tristyn Bailey 114 times, bragged about killing in jail. pic.twitter.com/jqf0jgPCa6
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) February 3, 2023
The peaceful St. Johns neighborhood where Bailey and Fucci attended Patriot Oaks Academy was shocked by Bailey’s death. Bailey passed while “fighting for her life,” according to the county’s State Attorney R.J. Larizza, who earlier told reporters. According to prosecutors, Fucci allegedly informed others the night of Bailey’s death that he “planned to kill someone by taking them in the woods and stabbing them.”
According to Larizza, Ailey had about 49 defensive stab wounds on her wrists, arms, and face. Witnesses rrecognizeda a knife that had been discovered in a pond as belonging to Fucci; the missing point of the blade was later found in Bailey’s skull. According to Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Predrag Bulic, the blood on the knife matched Bailey’s.
Fucci was arrested and questioned while the frantic hunt for Bailey continued. He posted a picture of himself seated in a police cruiser at around the same time. Hey everybody, have Tristyn been spotted recently? He asked in the caption of the picture.
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IAccording toan the arrest report, Fucci’s bedroom had blood-stained clothing, and when buestioned, he repeatedly changed his account. After being charged with evidence tampering, his mother, Crystal Lane Smith, was also detained after being accused of attempting to wash the lood off her son’s jeans.
Fucci’s guilty plea “is nothing more than a testament to the hard work and dedication of the exceptional men and women of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Rob Hardwick said in a statement on Monday. “This was an all-out agency effort. This was also an incredible community effort. The citizens of St. Johns County always show up, and this case was no different.”
Hardwick added that the “strength and grace” of the Bailey family had been “incredible” throughout the case.
On February 23, Judge Smith scheduled a second hearing to discuss matters before sentencing.
Emma is a Master of Science candidate at the California Institute of Technology. Since approximately four years ago, she has been a freelance writer, producing content for newspapers, magazines, blogs, and the internet