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Teen Who Brutally Murdered 13-Year-Old Tristyn Bailey Feigned Innocence In Back Of Squad Car, Video Shows
Aiden Fucci pleaded guilty in February to the 2021 murder of Tristyn Bailey and is awaiting sentencing.
The Florida teen who fatally stabbed 13-year-old schoolmate Tristyn Bailey nearly two years ago feigned his innocence while in the back of a squad car after being taken into custody, according to video shown at his sentencing hearing.
Aiden Fucci, now 16, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Bailey's killing on Feb. 6, the same day his murder trial was slated to begin. Though he was just 14 at the time of the slaying, he was charged as an adult.
His sentencing hearing kicked off on Tuesday. Circuit Judge Lee R. Smith will take into account evidence from both the prosecution, the teen's defense, as well as impact statements from Bailey's loved ones, to come to a decision, which is expected Friday, according to local outlet News4JAX.
RELATED: Investigators Release Video Of Murdered 13-Year-Old Tristyn Bailey Walking With Her Alleged Killer
Fucci faces a minimum sentence of 40 years in prison; the death penalty was not an option in the case because he is a minor.
Bailey was last seen in the early morning hours of May 9, 2021 – Mother's Day – and was reported missing by her parents after she didn't return home. Her body was found in a wooded area near her home later that day. She'd been stabbed 114 times.
Fucci, the last person seen with Bailey, was taken into custody the following day and implicated himself in the 13-year-old cheerleader's death, according to St. John's County Sheriff's deputies. While in the back of a patrol car, Fucci posted taunting videos to Snapchat referencing Bailey's disappearance.
On Tuesday, St. John's County Sheriff's Sgt. Kurt Hannon, the lead investigator in the case, fielded questions from prosecutor Jennifer Dunton about the contents of the Snapchat footage, as seen in courtroom footage obtained by Law & Crime.
Hannon requested that Fucci's phone be seized for evidence, he told the court, after he was "advised that [Fucci] was posting to social media from the backseat of a patrol car."
After determining that the teen had been using Snapchat – a messaging app in which posts are promptly deleted after they are opened by the recipient – the St. John's County Sheriff's Department solicited the company for his posts.
In one chilling post that had already been covered extensively by news media, the teenager photographs his reflection in a police cruiser's barrier glass during his arrest, throwing up a peace sign behind his head. He captioned the photo "Hey guys has inybody [sic] seen Tristyn lately."
But the subsequent Snapchats Fucci sent that day had not been seen by the public until they were shown in court Tuesday, according to Law & Crime.
"Having fun in a f---ing cop car," he said in one video, feigning innocence.
The camera angle shifts erratically as another boy in the back of the cruiser interrupts Fucci several times, earning a smirk from Fucci.
"Tristyn, if you f---ing walk out the damn-" Fucci can be heard saying at the end of video, which cuts short abruptly.
In another video shown in court, Fucci appears to have begun speaking before he started to record:
"Havin' fun in a f---ing cop car, cuz," Fucci said into the camera. "Trippin' dude ... us in a f---ing cop car, cuz."
Hannon explained to the court that Fucci had posted these videos to his Snapchat memories, meaning that he shared them with all of his friends on the app rather than sending them to one specific individual.
The deputy's time on the stand was preceded by testimony from Deputy Robert Maloney and Crime Scene Technician Marilyn Butts, according to a full recording shared by CourtTV.
Prosecutors shared Fucci's police interrogation video, in which his parents can initially seen chastising the teen for posting videos to Snapchat.
"Because of that Snapchat thing you did, you're all over the internet, social media," 35-year-old Crystal Smith, Fucci's mother, can be heard telling the teen. Smith is facing third-degree felony charges for tampering with evidence – she was allegedly seen on surveillance video from her home washing blood off Fucci's blue jeans shortly after he was taken into custody by police.