By IVY BROWN and LAUREN SILVER
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (Court TV) – The mother of a teenager who confessed to brutally murdering a young classmate has pleaded no contest to tampering with evidence in her son’s case Friday.
In a plea deal, Crystal Smith was sentenced to five years of probation and 30 days in jail. She can apply for early termination of her probation after three years.
In February, Smith’s son, 16-year-old Aiden Fucci, pleaded guilty to murdering 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey on Mother’s Day 2021. Fucci stabbed Bailey 114 times. Smith was charged with tampering with evidence for allegedly washing her son’s pants after the killing.
At Smith’s plea hearing, Bailey’s mother delivered a victim impact statement. Stacy Bailey said, “The irreparable damage that you have caused by your actions will forever be etched in to our lives.”
Jury selection in Smith’s trial was scheduled to begin on May 15, but just days before, prosecutors announced she had taken a plea agreement.
In response to Smith’s intention to take a plea, Bailey family attorney Matt Hinson gave the following statement to Court TV:
“The family is aware of the plan for her to plea (Friday) and they were involved in the negotiations along side assistant state attorney Jenny Dunton. They are appreciative of the hard work of the St. Johns’ County Sheriff’s Department and the 7th Circuit State Attorney’s Office! The Tristyn Bailey Foundation looks forward to making a major announcement regarding the foundation’s hard work toward victim advocacy and continuing to share Tristyn’s legacy with the world.”
Smith was accused of washing the jeans her son wore when he killed Bailey. An arrest warrant filed in her case said surveillance video from inside theFucci home showed her washing the pants.
Previously, Bailey’s family was present in court on May 9 for a motions hearing in Smith’s case and expressed disappointment afterward that no plea agreement had been reached.
Following Smith’s plea hearing, the Bailey family gave the following statement to Court TV:
As it was on March 24th when Aiden Fucci was sentenced to life in prison, today’s result and credit goes to the hard work of many.
To begin with, we would like to thank Florida’s Seventh Judicial Circuit Court as a whole, and Judge Smith particularly, for doing their best to resolve the cases in a timely manner.
We would again like to thank the Seventh Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office for their indelible spirit to get justice for our community. We will never be able to appropriately express our gratitude to Jennifer Dunton for the exceptional way in which she handled every aspect of the case. We want to be clear that the state attorney’s office involved us in today’s decision and we are supportive of the final outcome based on the law.
Along these lines, we continue to benefit from the unmatched investigative work done by the Saint Johns Sheriff’s Office. The evidence and investigation done by the team enabled the evidence to be overwhelming in both cases.
With the legal proceedings now complete, our hopes are with our community moving ahead. We hope for Tristyn’s classmates – that they will fully enjoy their milestones in the coming weeks. We hope for the parents of our community – that they help their children move forward with love, affection, and careful attention to their use of social media. We hope – that through your smiles, Tristyn’s bright smile will shine forever. Finally, for those who sacrificed so much on that Mother’s Day two years ago, we especially hope that this Mother’s Day will be an incredible day of joy and happiness.
As for us, we are inspired and strengthened by the community support. We are going to look forward by dedicating ourselves to the foundation so that Tristyn’s legacy remains in our community forever. Through the Tristyn Bailey Foundation, we have amazing plans to strengthen our community, educate children and parents, advocate for victims of crime, and provide scholarship opportunities to deserving students. We look forward to doing all of these things alongside our community.
We remain forever, Tristyn Bailey Strong!