Aiden Fucci, 16, sentenced to life for killing classmate, cheerleader
A St. Johns County courtroom judge in Florida on Friday sentenced 16-year-old Aiden Fucci to life in prison for the first-degree murder of 13-year-old cheerleader Tristyn Bailey, her friend and classmate, in a case that has drawn national attention due to the brutality of the murder and the age of the victim and perpetrator.
“Hereous, atrocious and cruel”, a crime orchestrated for no other reason than to feel what it is like to kill someone. This factor alone is why Judge. R. Lee Smith said there could be only one fit sentence for Fucci: life in prison.
It was not about greed, retaliation, revenge, rejection or an uncontrollable tantrum, Smith said in court on Friday. “This crime had no motive.”
“It was done for no other reason than to satisfy this defendant’s internal desire to feel what it was like to kill someone,” the judge said. “It was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification.”
He said his court had seen its share of autopsy photos, but these were particularly difficult. He repeated what has become common knowledge in the case, which is that Tristyn suffered 114 stab wounds, 49 of which were deemed defensive according to the medical examiner.
“She suffered a painful and horrific death from someone she trusted,” the judge said.
Fucci had told friends he was going to kill someone and even talked about taking them into the woods, Smith said. He wanted to see them bleed.
“There was an increased level of premeditation in this case,” the judge said.
Fucci pleaded guilty last month to first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Tristyn on Mother’s Day in 2021.
The sentence comes after two days of testimony before Judge R. Lee Smith, including hours of heartbreaking statements from the victims on Wednesday from Tristyn’s parents, grandmother, best friend and siblings, including her older sister, Alexis Bailey, who began her statement by dropping 114 aqua stone hearts into a jar – one for each of the stab wounds Tristyn suffered at the hands of Fucci, then just 14 years old.
Speaking on Fucci’s behalf, his grandmother, Deborah Spiwak, told the judge on Wednesday that she knew her grandson should be punished for his actions, but she pleaded: “Please don’t don’t take him out of our lives forever. … I know there’s good in Aiden.”
Because Fucci is a minor, an automatic life sentence was not an option. Instead, the teenager faced at least 40 years to life in prison. After Fucci serves 25 years of a life sentence, the judge can consider the possibility of a lighter sentence, according to Florida law.
Day 2:Sentencing phase for Aiden Fucci, 16, who stabbed Tristyn Bailey, 13, 114 times
Day 1 :Sentencing hearing begins in 2021 Florida stabbing death of Tristyn Bailey
What happened to Tristyn Bailey?
Tristyn was reported missing by her family at 10 a.m. on May 9, 2021. Evidence has emerged that she and Aiden Fucci were at a friend’s house in their Durbin Crossing neighborhood in northwest St. Johns, and were last seen walking together after 1 a.m. Morning. Seventeen hours later, his body was discovered in the woods of a neighborhood cul-de-sac.
What happened to Tristyn Bailey?Here’s everything you need to know
How did Tristyn Bailey die?
According to Chief Medical Examiner Predrag Bulic, the cause of Tristyn’s death was “blunt force trauma”. An autopsy found that Tristyn had 114 “cuts or stab wounds to the head, neck, shoulders, arms, hands and back,” according to an unredacted warrant affidavit released by the state’s attorney. Forty-nine of those injuries turned out to be defensive injuries.
Timeline: events of the disappearance, death of Tristyn Bailey
Saturday, May 8, 2021
- 11:45 PM The Bailey family returns home after a night out.
- Around midnight: Tristyn Bailey is last seen by a brother and is supposed to be sleeping in her bedroom.
Sunday May 9
- 12:30 a.m.: A video shows Tristyn walking around the neighborhood.
- 1:14 a.m.: Two people, believed to be Tristyn and Aiden, walk together.
- 1:45 a.m.: Video evidence from a house shows Tristyn and Aiden walking east on Saddlestone Drive.
- 3:30 a.m.: Video from the same house shows a person believed to be Aiden heading in the opposite direction, alone, wearing white Nike shoes. Moments later, a video shows Aiden entering his home wearing white Nike shoes.
- 10 a.m.: Tristyn’s mother calls 911 to report the teen missing. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement joins the search.
- 4:49 p.m.: A missing child alert in Florida is issued for Tristyn.
- 6:06 p.m.: A resident who was on the run called to report a body in the woods east of the cul-de-sac on Saddlestone Drive. After identifying the body as Tristyn’s, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office calls off the search.
- 8:00 p.m.: The sheriff’s office announces that a body has been found and tentatively identifies it as Tristyn.
- 8:49 PM Aiden and his parents are placed in an interrogation room at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
Monday May 10
- 12:44 a.m. Investigators search Fucci’s home, finding a knife sheath; a pair of wet white Nike shoes with blood on them; a T-shirt with blood on it; a piece of white paper with handwriting with possibly blood on it; and a pair of wet blue denim jeans in a laundry basket. They also find blood and dirt on the bathroom sink drain next to Aiden’s room.
- 3:30 a.m. Aiden is arrested for second-degree murder.
- 11:30 a.m.: The sheriff’s office confirms the identity of the body found as that of Tristyn Bailey and announces the arrest of Aiden Fucci for second degree murder. (Two weeks later, Fucci was charged with first-degree murder.)
Full coverage:Aiden Fucci learns his fate after horrific murder of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey