By IVY BROWN Court TV
ST. JOHNS, Fla. (Court TV) — A Florida teenager has been sentenced life in prison after pleading guilty to the first-degree murder of a classmate.
Following a two day sentencing hearing, 16-year-old Aiden Fucci was sentenced Friday, March 24, for the death of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey.
The judge said because of Fucci’s age, his sentence of life in prison is eligible for review in 25 years.
Fucci said he was “sorry for the Bailey family” and his family while pleading guilty in St. Johns County on Feb. 6, moments before jury selection was set to begin in his trial.
Fucci was 14 years old when he stabbed Bailey to death on Mother’s Day 2021. The cheerleader’s body was found near a retention pond eight and a half hours after her parents reported her missing.
She had suffered roughly 114 stab wounds, according to the medical examiner’s report. The word “KARMA” was reportedly written “on the inside of the left ankle” and a smiley face symbol was drawn “on the inside of the right ankle,” stated the report.
Authorities ultimately determined Fucci and Bailey had visited a fellow classmate the night before and left the residence around 1:00 am. Video footage showed the teens walking in the neighborhood around 1:45 am, according to an arrest report. Almost two hours later, only Fucci is seen walking towards his home.
During an initial police interview, Fucci admitted to leaving a friend’s home with Bailey, but said they separated at her neighborhood street. He then changed his statement and said they got into an argument “in which he forcefully pushed (Bailey) to the ground, striking her head” and then he left her alone, stated an arrest report.
In the report, authorities also reference a Snapchat message that reportedly depicts a selfie of Fucci and another teen in the back of a patrol car, captioned “Hey guys has inbody (sic) seen Tristyn lately.”
Investigators also said they collected bloody items from Fucci’s home.
DAILY TRIAL UPDATES
3/24/23 – Sentencing Day 3
- The judge sentenced Aiden Fucci to life in prison for the 2021 murder of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey. Because of Fucci’s age, his sentence is eligible for review in 25 years.
3/22/23 – Sentencing Day 2
3/21/23 – Sentencing Day 1
- Crime scene photos revealed during the sentencing hearing.
- Tristyn’s body was found in a wooded area near a retention pond over two miles from her home; she had been stabbed 114 times.
- Fucci posted to Snapchat while in custody in a police vehicle.
- Law enforcement created a timeline of Fucci’s movement using home security videos.
- Video played of Fucci and his parents waiting in the interrogation room.
- Fucci allegedly threatened to kill his then-girlfriend with a knife.
Court TV field producer Tiffany Smith contributed to this report.