ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Action News Jax will continue to follow the latest updates in the Tristyn Bailey case on air and online. You can see team coverage of the latest developments in this story on FOX30 and CBS47.
Tuesday, June 1, 2021:
A felony arraignment date has been set for Aiden Fucci, the 14-year-old accused of killing St. Johns County 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey in May.
Fucci is set to appear in St. Johns County court on Thursday, June 10 at 9 a.m. in front of Judge R. Lee Smith.
During his arraignment hearing, he will enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty on the charge of first-degree premeditated murder.
Friday, May 28, 2021:
Aiden Fucci, the teen accused of killing 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey appeared in court on Friday morning.
He’s being charged with first-degree premeditated murder, a charge the judge said is a capital felony punishable by life or death.
Because Aiden is a juvenile, death is not an option but the charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Aiden will be held without bond. The next step in the case will be arraignment in the coming weeks.
During his arraignment hearing, he will enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty.
Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson says a guilty plea could involve negotiating a reduced sentence for a reduced crime. A not guilty plea could be a way to uncover evidence against Fucci, and opens the door to a jury trial.
“What it means is, ‘I want to see what you’ve got that would suggest and prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that I am guilty of a crime,’” Carson explained.
Following his court appearance, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said he was taken to the Duval County jail on a courtesy hold.
“They’ll have to keep him in an area that is somewhat protected from assaults from other individuals,” he explained.
Thursday, May 27, 2021:
Action News Jax has learned that the teen accused in the murder of St. Johns County teen Tristyn Bailey will be charged as an adult with premeditated first-degree murder, according to motions filed in court on Thursday.
Aiden Fucci, 14, was initially arrested on Monday, May 10 and charged with second-degree murder in Tristyn’s death.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza said at a news conference on Thursday that Tristyn’s encounter with Fucci started out as kids hanging out, but said it didn’t end that way.
Larizza said the decision to charge Fucci as an adult stemmed from the fact that the medical examiner found that Tristyn had been stabbed 114 times.
“There were defensive wounds on this young lady and she was fighting for her life,” Larizza said. He mentioned that 49 of Tristyn’s wounds were found on her hands, arm and head.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office recovered a knife near a pond where Tristyn’s body was recovered. The tip of the knife was missing and the medical examiner found that tip in a wound on Tristyn’s scalp.
Larizza also said that Fucci mentioned to several friends that he was going to kill someone by taking them into the woods and stabbing them, but no one reported Fucci’s statements.
Larizza said if Fucci is convicted and gets a life sentence, he would be eligible for a review at 25 years old and that he would get certain benefits/accommodations due to his age at the time of the crime he is charged with.
Tristyn’s family, also known as the “Bailey 7,” released the following statement:
“We appreciate that today’s outcome is directly the result of the thorough and comprehensive work from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office along with the 7th District State Attorney’s office as part of the initial steps to bring justice for Tristyn’s murder. We would specifically like to recognize the Criminal Investigations Unit of the SJSO.
“We greatly appreciate the tremendous community outpouring from all parts of the world. Particularly for those in St. Johns that have helped from the Mother’s Day search, the vigils, remembrances and memorials. With the press conference sharing details of this heinous crime, the caring and love shown from the people and businesses to raise up the memory of Tristyn and the resolve of our community serve as a beacon of light in the darkness. As shared in the Celebration of Life on the battle of the two wolves, it helps us to feed the good wolf.
“We also would like to thank the Jacksonville media for respecting our privacy while we mourn the loss of Tristyn. A special thanks to News4Jax for livestreaming the Celebration of Life to enable people globally to observe the service. We do ask for your continued respect for our privacy as well as of Tristyn’s teammates and her school.
“As we move forward, we will seek to keep Tristyn’s memory alive and the spirit of the community.
“Our thanks, The Bailey 7″
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement:
“Earlier today, a grand jury convened and unanimously indicted Aiden Fucci for first-degree murder. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office fully supports this decision.
“This indictment today represents only the first step in a very long and difficult process. We remain confident in the strength and thoroughness of the investigation and will be fully prepared to present all of the facts and evidence to a jury at the appropriate time.
“We would like to thank the State Attorney’s Office for their partnership on this case. Additionally, we would like to thank the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Medical Examiner’s Office for their diligent work on this case in tandem with our agency. From day one, our teams have worked side-by-side, furthering the investigation and preparing this case for a grand jury.
“Even though this case has transitioned to the State Attorney’s Office, our detectives will continue to investigate all leads and evidence to the fullest extent. We ask that you continue to keep the family of Tristyn Bailey, as well as, their community in your thoughts and prayers. We remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure justice and accountability is served.”
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Tristyn, who attended Patriot Oaks Academy, was reported missing on May 9 -- Mother’s Day -- and found dead later that day in the Durbin Crossing neighborhood.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office announced the next day, on May 10, that Fucci was being charged with second-degree murder in Tristyn’s death.
On Tuesday, May 11, investigators revealed that Tristyn had been stabbed to death.
A petition on Change.org has gathered more than 200,000 signatures, urging the State Attorney’s Office to charge Fucci as an adult.
A memorial service for Tristyn was held Tuesday, May 18 at Celebration Church.
On Friday, May 21, a judge allowed Fucci’s original attorney to withdraw from the case and the teen will now be represented by the public defender’s office.
WATCH: New legal team for Aiden Fucci
Cox Media Group