A 14-year-old Florida teen charged with stabbing his classmate 114 times in early May will be charged as an adult, the St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday.
Aiden Fucci was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey, the St. Augustine Record reported Thursday. Fucci was initially charged with second-degree murder following the discovery of Bailey’s body on May 9 in a wooded area near her home in St. John’s County.
BREAKING: The teen accused of killing 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey will be tried as an adult and is now facing a 1st degree murder charge, court documents show.
Aiden Fucci, 14, is at a juvenile detention center in Daytona Beach. Prosecutors will talk about the case at 4 on @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/vJjdOExcGN
— Vic Micolucci WJXT (@WJXTvic) May 27, 2021
“It brings me no pleasure to be charging a 14-year-old as an adult with first-degree murder, but I can tell you also that the executive team and I reviewed all the facts, all the circumstances, the applicable law and it was not a difficult decision to make that he should be charged as an adult,” State Attorney for the 7th Circuit R.J. Larizza said Thursday, according to Newsweek. (RELATED: ‘This Is Cold Blooded Murder’: Sheriff Says 13-Year-Old Was Stabbed A ‘Horrific’ Number Of Times)
Bailey was reported missing on the morning of May 9 and had last been seen around midnight, the sheriff’s office said. Bailey was a cheerleader at Patriot Oaks Academy.
We are still looking for 13 year old Tristyn Bailey. We are asking for the community’s help, especially those with school aged children in the northwest part of our county. Any tips, please call 904-824-8304 or email firstname.lastname@example.org pic.twitter.com/pHv66DbLud
— SJSO (@SJSOPIO) May 9, 2021
Larizza announced Thursday that the charge had been upgraded to first-degree murder, indicating that the crime had been premeditated. At least 49 of the stab wounds on the victim’s body were to the hands, arms and head.
“They were defensive in nature,” Larizza said, according to the St. Augustine Record. “The bottom line is that premeditation could be inferred certainly from just the sheer number of stab wounds that Tristyn Bailey had to suffer. Every time that arm went back, and every time that arm went down, that was premeditation.”
Investigators also believe statements Fucci allegedly made to friends in the weeks before Bailey’s death indicate premeditation.
“He had told friends that he was going to kill someone and that it was imminent — within the next 30 days or within the month,” Larizza said, according to Newsweek. “And he talked about that to some of his friends several times.”
Larizza said Fucci spoke descriptively about his plans, although the suspect never named Bailey as a potential victim, leading investigators to believe it’s possible she was in “the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“He indicated to witnesses that he was going to kill someone by taking them in the woods and stabbing them, which are certainly the facts of this case,” Larizza added.
Investigators found clothing with traces of blood at Fucci’s home and recovered a buck knife that is believed to be the murder weapon from a pond near the crime scene, according to the St. Augustine Record.
Larizza said Fucci was not suffering from any mental health issues or attending counseling, the St. Augustine Record reported. Fucci will be separated from the adult population at the facility he is being transferred to.
“The juvenile system is geared for kids maybe with drug issues that commit nonviolent crime. When you get kids that get to this level of violence, the time, the accountability, is not there. The adult system is where this case belongs,” he said.
Larizza declined questions at the Thursday press conference about evidence of sexual assault in the case, according to the St. Augustine Record.
After Larizza’s statements Thursday, Bailey’s family thanked the sheriff’s office and state attorney’s office for their work on the case, and the community members who participated in the Mother’s Day search for Bailey.
Statement from Tristyn Bailey’s family about the new information released today. It reads in part: pic.twitter.com/v4t5DXFHiH
— Anthony Austin (@AnthonyReports) May 27, 2021
“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,” the statement said, according to News4Jax.
Fucci could face life in prison if convicted but is not eligible for the death penalty due to his age, according to News4Jax.