A Florida teen pleaded guilty Monday to the horrific 2021 murder of a 13-year-old cheerleader from Jacksonville.
Sixteen-year-old Pleads Guilty to Murder
Sixteen-year-old Aiden Fucci entered the surprise guilty plea on the same day he was set to face trial in the stabbing death of the crime against Tristyn Bailey, whose blood-soaked body was dumped in a wooded area near their homes.
Aiden Fucci, who was 14-years-old when he committed the murder, stabbed Bailey 114 times before dumping her body in a wooded area in St. John’s County, Florida, on Mother’s Day in 2021.
Bailey had tragically been found with at least multiple stab wounds to her hands, arms, and head that were “defensive in nature,” 7th Judicial Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza said, indicating that she put up a fight in her final moments.
“Today was a major event in this case,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza said.
In a statement, Tristyn’s family said they were confident prosecutors would have secured a guilty verdict but that the surprise plea brought “significant relief,” according to the NBC affiliate WTLV of Jacksonville.
Teen Stabs Cheerleader 114 Times
Tristyn Bailey had been reported missing, last seen walking with Fucci in their Durbin Creek neighborhood shortly after 1 a.m. the morning of May 9, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Bailey’s parents alerted authorities after she didn’t show up on Mother’s Day for a pre-planned brunch.
The Patriot Oaks Academy cheerleader’s body was discovered later that day in a wooded area by a neighbor.
In Fucci’s arrest report, he confirmed being with his Patriot Oaks Academy classmate at a mutual friend’s house and leaving with her at about 1:10 a.m. on May 9, 2021.
The teen murderer said they got into an argument, and he pushed her to the ground, striking her head. He said he walked around awhile until getting to his Castledale Court home at about 3:30 a.m.
Security video showed the two walking from the Durbin Amenity Center on North Durbin Parkway at about 1:15 a.m. At 1:45 a.m., they also were seen walking on Saddlestone Drive, but only him again at 3:30 a.m. on the same street and heading in the opposite direction.
Fucci has apparently not been a cooperative prisoner while awaiting trial. Jail incident reports indicate he has fought with other inmates, threatened guards, and bragged about the stabbing that landed him behind bars.
Fucci Charged as an Adult
Officials charged him as an adult following the death of 13-year-old cheerleader Tristyn Bailey, who was stabbed 114 times.
“I just want to say I plead guilty, and I’m sorry for the Bailey family and my family,” he said in court.
Though he was charged as an adult, Fucci will not face the death penalty, per Florida law. Because he was a minor when he committed the crime, he will receive 40 years to life in prison.
Reporters said Fucci would often draw pictures of mutilated bodies and confide to pals that he heard voices in his head telling him to kill innocents. Fucci’s friends told investigators he openly fantasized about violence and murder in the months leading up to the killing, and that he selected his classmate as a target in a fit of rage.
Associates told detectives he had a turbulent home life and would indulge in dark fantasies as a way to cope with the turmoil.
No agreement on the prison terms has been made, and he will be back in St. Johns County Circuit Court on Feb. 23 for a status hearing.
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