Sentencing proceedings continued Wednesday in the case of 16-year-old Aiden Fucci, who pleaded guilty last month to first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 13-year-old classmate Tristyn Bailey in Florida 2021.
The case received national attention after evidence showed Bailey suffered 114 stab wounds on May 9, 2021. Fucci was 14 at the time and charged as an adult.
Judge R. Lee Smith must decide how long to sentence 16-year-old Fucci from 40 years to life in prison. Due to being a juvenile, Fucci’s first-degree guilty plea doesn’t qualify for a possible death sentence. The sentencing hearings are expected to extend into the week with potentially a couple dozen more people called to testify.
Smith previously said he intends to decide on a sentence within a week.
“I’m not going to drag this out any longer than necessary,” he said in February. “I don’t want to go through a sentencing hearing and then say, ‘All right, now I’m going to take three more weeks.”
Fucci and Tristyn had been at a friend’s home in their Dubrin Crossing neighborhood and were last seen walking together after 1 a.m. on May 9, 2021, the Sheriff’s Office said. Bailey’s body was found later that day in some nearby woods after a missing-persons report was filed.
On Day 2 of the sentencing phase Wednesday, Bailey’s family members read victim impact statements. They appeared on the witness stand, all wearing teal-colored clothing in remembrance of Tristyn, recounting the day she went missing, the discovery of her body and how their lives have changed since.
The day began with Tristyn’s second-oldest sister, Alexis Bailey, dropping 114 teal-colored stones into a glass jar – one stone for each time Fucci stabbed her younger sister. At the end of each of their statements, they placed a white stone in the glass jar and expressed what the stone meant to them.
Here’s a look at some of the statements:
Alexis Bailey, Tristyn Bailey’s older sister
Teegan Bailey, Tristyn Bailey’s older brother
To see more of Wednesday’s statements, The Florida Times-Union, a member of the USA TODAY Network, has wall-to-wall live coverage.
Recap: If you missed Day 1, here are five takeaways from Tuesday’s testimony:
What did Aiden Fucci say Tristyn Bailey did before her death?
Deputy Robert Maloney of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office was one of the first to interview Fucci when Tristyn was still missing. Fucci confirmed they were hanging out at a mutual friend’s home until leaving together about 1 a.m. and he was home by about 3:30 a.m. But the deputy pointed out that some of Fucci’s timeline didn’t match up.
He said he went back to Fucci’s home to talk with him again and asked if he would ride with him to show him the path that he and Tristyn took. His stepfather followed in a golf cart.
Maloney said Fucci kept changing his story about when the two separated. He finally said they had a fight. Specifically, and Maloney apologized to the court for what he was about to say, he stated she grabbed his penis. He said he didn’t like it and didn’t want to cheat on his girlfriend, so he pushed her to the ground and hit her head. He said he then walked off.
At that point Maloney said Fucci was now in custody. While waiting, he started crying and said, “I’m going to get arrested for bull—-.”
What drawing was found in Aiden Fucci’s bedroom?
The second witness of the day was Marilyn Butts, a crime scene technician with the Sheriff’s Office. She took dozens of photos both at the scene and Fucci’s home.
She said Tristyn had a 20-dollar bill, vape pen, ring and cellphone at the time she was found that were photographed. At Fucci’s home and bedroom, she provided photo documentation of his Nike shoes, white T-shirt and blue jeans all with possible blood on them.
The next witness, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Kurt Hannon, noted that Fucci’s best friend and girlfriend each described him as having a fascination with knives, carried one with him and showed them off. He even named them “Picker” and “Poker.”
What about Aiden Fucci on Snapchat?
Hannon had Fucci in the back of his patrol car during the investigation and noticed he was using his cellphone to post to social media. The court was then shown two photos and two videos posted on Snapchat. Fucci was with his best friend talking about being in the back of an expletive cop car. Hannon said he was saying something like “Hey guys, anybody seen Tristyn Bailey lately?”
Fucci’s cellphone also showed he had contact with Tristyn at 12:25 a.m. that May 9 and a Facetime between the two, Hannon said. The next activity on his phone was at 1:11 a.m., a call to his best friend that went unanswered. Then there was no activity until 9:27 a.m.
Under cross-examination, Hannon couldn’t say if Fucci tried to delete anything from his phone.
Did Aiden Fucci’s parents get to talk with him?
The fifth witness called to testifiy was detective Tyler Thompson of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. During his testimony, Fucci and his parents were recorded in a Sheriff’s Office room by themselves.
They discussed how serious this situation is and that his Snapchat didn’t help. He appeared very calm but wasn’t very forthcoming. “This is no joke, this is your whole life, your whole life,” his mother said.
She also asked if Tristyn really grabbed him, and he said yes. She also asked if he’s scared, and he said not really, but a little. His stepfather also said it wasn’t smart to leave a 13-year-old girl out there alone at that time.
They also tried to prep him on how to answer questions. “Everything you say will affect you,” his mother said.
Tristyn Bailey killing:Aiden Fucci set for November trial in killing of 13-year-old cheerleader Tristyn Bailey