Florida teenager learns his fate for stabbing 13-year-old cheerleader more than 100 times
A judge hit deranged Florida teenager Aiden Fucci with life in prison for butchering a 13-year-old classmate for no other reason than an “internal desire to feel what it was like to kill someone.”
Circuit Judge R. Lee Smith could have sentenced Fucci to a minimum of 40 years for stabbing Tristyn Bailey 114 times, calling the crime “heinous, atrocious and cruel.”
More than 50 family members and friends packed the St. Johns County courtroom – many dabbing their eyes with tissues during the proceeding.
Fucci, 16, pleaded guilty in February on the eve of his trial to one count of first-degree murder for the May 9, 2021, killing and leaving her body in a wooded area less than a mile from his home in an upscale suburb in north Florida.
Fucci was tried as an adult but was not eligible for the death penalty because he committed the crime when he was 14.
The sentence was handed down after a two-day hearing that featured experts and victim impact statements from Bailey’s shattered family.
The slain teenager’s mother, Stacy Bailey, begged the judge through sobs Wednesday to give Fucci the maximum. “Please do not for one second think that he could be rehabilitated at any point. He is beyond saving,” she said.
In a heart-wrenching statement, the victim’s sister, Alexis Bailey, told the court that her life would never be the same.
“Our family broke that day and I don’t recognize any of us anymore,” she said.
In a March 12 handwritten letter to the judge released Thursday, Fucci apologized for the savage attack on his friend.
“First off, I want to say that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all the pain I caused to the Baily (sic) family. I sorry to the friends, brothers, sisters, mom, dad and any other family relatives,” he wrote. He also apologized to his parents in the typo-ridden missive.
“To my mom I want to send my apawlogy’s as well. I’m sorry that she had to move her house because people were sending threats to the house and my family. And that my little brother and sister had to chage school’s because of me. Mom now I miss your lemon peper chicken. I miss your hug’s. I miss you. The longer I’m in her the more I forget the more memories I lose. I’ll never forget you love me.”
The horrific slaying has shaken the tight-knit community in St. Johns County, about 30 miles south of Jacksonville.
Bailey, a competitive cheerleader who had four older siblings, attended Patriot Oaks Academy alongside Fucci. The night of her murder, she was hanging out with Fucci and another classmate after sneaking out of her house.
She was last seen alive on surveillance video walking with Fucci at 1:45 a.m. on a quiet street in Durban Crossing toward a wooded area. About two hours later, Fucci was seen emerging from the wooded area carrying his Nike sneakers in his arms.
The next morning, Mother’s Day, her family realized she was not in her room and reported her missing. Hours later, a jogger came upon her body near a pond in the neighborhood.
State Attorney RJ Larizza previously revealed that Bailey had 49 defensive wounds on her hands, arms and head, and that the tip of the hunting knife Fucci used to slaughter her broke off in her skull.
After deputies with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office took Fucci in for questioning, he recorded a disturbing Snapchat video of himself in the back of a police car. “Having fun in a f—ing cop car,” he says, including the sinister caption, “Hey guys has anyone seen Tristyn lately?”
Fucci’s friends later told investigators that he fantasized about violence and murder in the weeks before the slaying, saying he was going to kill someone in the next month.
“If he were going to kill someone it was going to be planned. He was going to find a random person at night, drag them into the woods and stab them,” a friend told investigators.