The Florida teen who stabbed a 13-year-old cheerleader when he was 14 years old has been sentenced to life in jail on Friday, March 24.
The case drew national attention because of the brutality of the killing and the ages of the victim and perpetrator.
Aiden Fucci fatally stabbed cheerleader Tristyn Bailey who was his friend and classmate 114 times in 2021.
Aiden Fucci, now 16, was handed the sentence by Judge R. Lee Smith, said Haley Harrison, with the State Attorney’s Office 7th Judicial Circuit of Florida.
‘Heinous, atrocious and cruel,’ a crime orchestrated for no other reason than to feel what it’s like to kill someone.
‘This factor alone is why Judge. R. Lee Smith said there could be only one appropriate sentence for Fucci: life in prison.
‘It wasn’t about greed, retaliation, revenge, rejection or some fit of uncontrollable anger,’ Smith said in court Friday. ‘This crime had no motive.’
Harrison however said Fucci’s sentence is subject to review by a judge in 25 years.
Fucci pleaded guilty in February to first-degree murder. He was 14 when he was arrested in the May 9, 2021 slaying.
Bailey was found dead in woods outside Jacksonville.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Fucci told investigators that he got into an argument with Bailey and pushed her to the ground after they left a mutual friend’s place before dawn on May 9.
While he was still considered a witness, Fucci snapped a photo of himself in the back of a police vehicle flashing a peace sign and posted the image to social media with the caption: ‘Hey guys has anybody seen Tristyn lately.’
He was arrested May 10 and initially accused of second-degree murder.
Days later, a grand jury indicted him on a first-degree murder charge, and Fucci was to be tried as an adult.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza stated the number of stab wounds supported the charge and showed the attack was premeditated.
Tristyn’s father, Forest, spoke Friday, March 24, on behalf of his family following the verdict.
He sent his late daughter a message.
‘Tristyn, I wanted to let you know we are so extremely proud of the person that you were in your time time here,’ he said.
‘We have seen that when you went out into the world, you gave it your very best. You should be proud of the friend that you were, the teammate that you were, and what you left behind and the people that knew you that we trust will go forward and continue to make the world a better place.’
(His voice cracked as he continued speaking.)
‘With respect to what you mean to our family, it’s in our hearts. There are no words. We love you. We will continue to hold you in our hearts and we will always be the Bailey Seven.’
He thanked the judge for the sentence he handed down.
‘We are very appreciative of this outcome and felt that it is the right verdict considering how heinous the crime is and Aiden’s behavior around it.’
He added that Fucci’s family should not be mistreated because they’re in pain, too.
‘Please extend them kindness. They should be given grace for the pain they’re going through. They should not be given additional hardship.’
On Wednesday, March 22, Bailey’s family provided emotional accounts during a sentencing hearing.
Alexis Bailey, Tristyn’s sister, dropped 114 teal stones into a glass jar to represent each time Fucci stabbed her younger sister.
‘Aiden Fucci didn’t just take Tristyn’s life that day, he took everything from us,’ she said during the hearing.
Alexis and another sister, Brittney Bailey Russell, said they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder since the slaying.
Russell was on her honeymoon when she learned that her sister was missing.
‘Agony isn’t painful enough. Shattered to the core doesn’t crumble like how I feel. Infuriated doesn’t even come close to touching the amount of rage I find myself trapped in,’ Russell said.
‘And let me tell you, justice is just a word for comfort. It doesn’t bring her back.’