St. Augustine, FL — UPDATED STORY:
The mother of Aiden Fucci, the teenager accused of killing Tristyn Bailey, is facing a charge of tampering with evidence.
According to the arrest warrant, security footage from inside the home shows Fucci’s mother, Crystal Lane Smith, going into Fucci’s room around 12:55 p.m on May 9.
Smith is seen taking a pair of blue jeans into a bathroom within their house and scrubbing them in the bathroom sink. The arrest warrant stated she returned the jeans to his room just over 30 minutes later.
The arrest warrant stated that the same jeans tested positive for blood. The drain in the sink also tested positive for blood.
“Any tampering with evidence is an exposure of 5 years in custody if convicted,” Action News Jax Law and Safety expert, Dale Carson said.
Carson, who has decades of experience in law enforcement, including the FBI, said tampering with just this piece of evidence wouldn’t prevent a successful prosecution of Fucci.
“The discarding or elimination of that type of physical evidence is not the be all and end all of the case, the mother really didn’t do anything except put herself in more danger by tampering with that evidence,” Carson said.
The arrest warrant says she took the jeans around 12:55 p.m. on May 9, shortly after Fucci left voluntarily with deputies.
In a statement to Action News Jax, State Attorney R.J. Larizza said, “tampering with evidence is tampering with justice and cannot be excused or tolerated.”
Investigators have said Fucci and Bailey were seen on security footage walking together at 1:45 a.m. Sunday, May 9, but at 3:27 a.m., Fucci was seen walking alone.
The arrest warrant says Fucci was wearing the same jeans before and after Bailey was killed and that he did not change out of them at any point.
Fucci is being charged with first-degree murder. He will be tried as an adult, and could face up to life imprisonment.
“It would not surprise me because of the notoriety of this particular case that those who would sit on the jury panel would find that the underlying crime is so severe that the mother should not have done what she did after washing the clothes,” Carson said.
Durbin Crossing neighbor and father, Fred Grande, said the community is still shaken and needs to heal.
“I’ve had a stomach ache since day one of us, this is the most atrocious horrible thing you could ever do to a person,” Grande said.
Smith turned herself in just before noon on Saturday, but according to the St. Johns County inmate search website, she was released on a $25,000 bond at 1:40 p.m. Saturday. The release says her next court appearance will be provided when they get it.
Crystal Smith, the mother of Aiden Fucci, is in the St. Johns County jail facing evidence tampering charges.
She turned herself in just before noon on Saturday and was released shortly after on a $25,000 bond.
According to the arrest warrant, Smith washed the jeans Fucci was wearing when deputies say he killed 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey.
The warrant says Smith was present on May 9 while her 14-year-old son was being interviewed by investigators about Bailey’s death. After her son left with deputies, surveillance cameras inside the house captured Smith going into Fucci’s room, grabbing a pair of jeans, then scrubbing the jeans in a bathroom sink. Investigators say she returned the jeans to Fucci’s room a couple of hours later.
The jeans were found while investigators searched Fucci’s home. According to the warrant, they tested positive for blood.
The drain in the sink where investigators say Smith washed the jeans also tested positive for the presence of blood.
In a statement sent to Action News Jax, State Attorney R.J. Larizza said, “Tampering with evidence is tampering with justice and cannot be excused or tolerated.”
Sheriff Rob Hardwick said, “I remain incredibly proud of the men and women of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office for their continued thoroughness in this investigation. Our goal in any investigation is to ensure proper accountability across the board for successful prosecution.”
He added, “Crystal Smith will be held responsible for her role in this case and justice will be served for Tristyn Bailey and her family.”
©2021 Cox Media Group