ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — A judge on Friday handed down a life sentence to Aiden Fucci for the brutal stabbing death of his classmate, 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey, WJAX-TV reported.
Fucci, who was 14 at the time of the killing, received the maximum sentence after authorities said he stabbed Tristyn 114 times on Mother’s Day in 2021, according to WJAX. He pleaded guilty to a first-degree murder charge last month.
“This case is probably the most difficult and shocking case that this county, St. Johns County, has dealt with,” Judge R. Lee Smith said Friday before sentencing Fucci, WJAX reported. He said Fucci killed Tristyn in “a cold, calculated manner” and highlighted that her family has since suffered “deep emotional and mental health problems.”
Fucci, 16, had told a former girlfriend that he was going to kill someone in the month leading up to Tristyn’s death, according to a psychologist who interviewed the girlfriend and spoke in court on Tuesday, WJAX reported. It was not clear when he decided that person would be Tristyn, who lived in the same neighborhood as him, according to the news station.
Dr. Greg Prichard said Fucci showed an “unusual” fascination with gore and violence before the killing and that he once mused to his former girlfriend about “how easy it would be to kill her while she slept,” according to WJAX. He noted that Fucci has yet to have shown remorse for the stabbing or show any signs that he would be a good candidate for rehabilitation, according to WJAX.
Fucci apologized to Tristyn’s family and his own in a brief statement in court in February, which the Bailey family rejected in court on Wednesday. Alexis Bailey, Tristyn’s older sister and one of the last family members to see the 13-year-old alive, said she remembers seeing her sister walk out the door before she was killed.
“I have nightmares about that moment,” she said, according to WJAX. “Our family broke that day, and I don’t recognize any of us anymore.”
In a particularly dramatic moment, Bailey’s sister Alexis dropped 114 stones into a glass jar, one stone for every time Tristyn was stabbed.
Smith on Friday encouraged the Bailey family to heal, saying that Tristyn would have wanted them to laugh and joke again, WJAX reported.
As Fucci is a juvenile, his case will be eligible for review in 25 years, according to WJAX. His mother, Crystal Smith, has also been charged with tampering with evidence in connection to the case.
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