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Florida Teen Sentenced In 13-Year-Old Tristyn Bailey's Fatal 2021 Stabbing
“He is beyond saving,” Tristyn Bailey’s mother, Stacy Bailey, said of her daughter’s killer, Aiden Fucci, prior to him receiving a life sentence.
A Florida teen who admitted to fatally stabbing 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey on Mother’s Day two years ago was sentenced to life in prison.
Judge R. Lee Smith handed down the sentence to Aiden Fucci on Friday morning in connection with Bailey's brutal 2021 murder. She was stabbed 114 times.
“This case is probably the most difficult and shocking case that this county, St. Johns County, has dealt with,” Smith said before delivering Fucci’s sentence, WJAX-TV reported.
Fucci, 16, had pleaded guilty in February to Bailey’s murder. He entered his plea the same day his murder trial had been slated to open. He’d faced a minimum of 40 years in prison. Fucci avoided the death penalty in the case because he was 14 at the time of Bailey’s murder.
Fucci’s case will be eligible for review in 25 years since he’s a juvenile.
On May 9, 2021, Bailey’s body was found in a wooded area near St. John’s, Florida. Her cause of death was ruled “force trauma by stabbing.” Nearly half of the stab wounds Bailey sustained were defensive in nature, according to prosecutors. Investigators later found the knife they suspect was used to kill Bailey in a nearby pond.
Fucci was arrested the following day after making multiple “admissions” of guilt, according to police. Surveillance footage captured near the scene of the murder, as well as DNA evidence, also tied him to the girl's killing. According to prosecutors, Bailey’s murder was premeditated. Fucci stated to several people that he wished “kill someone by taking them in the woods and stabbing them,” per court documents.
Fucci’s mother, Crystal Lane Smith, was also charged with tampering with evidence in Bailey’s murder after police alleged she’d attempted to wash a pair of Fucci's blood-soaked jeans following the homicide. Her case is pending.
At Fucci’s sentencing, Smith said he’d inflicted “deep emotional and mental health problems” on the Bailey family.” He described Bailey’s murder as “cold” and “calculated.”
“Allow ‘Bailey Sunday Fundays’ to return to your home,” Smith told the Baileys.
He also thanked the family, including Tristyn Bailey’s grandmother, for their court testimony.
“That took a lot of courage,” Smith added. “That was not easy, for her. But it showed this court that he had a good, stable home environment.”
Bailey’s family had previously begged the judge to impose the harshest possible punishment on Fucci. In particular, Bailey’s mother, Stacy Bailey, concluded Fucci was “beyond saving.”
"Your Honor, I plead with you, please consider everything he has done to our daughter and our family,” Stacy Bailey said of her daughter's killer at his sentencing hearing. “Aiden Fucci made a heinous decision on May 9, 2021, and took the very life that I brought into this world. Please do not for one second think that he could be rehabilitated at any point. He is beyond saving."
Stacy Bailey said she’s also tormented by visions of her daughter’s murder and her final moments, which she said live on constant reply in her head.
“How terrified she must have been," she said, The Florida Times-Union reported. "He continues to strike, over and over and over ... These visions are embedded in my mind ... I pray she passed out, but honestly with the amount of defense wounds, I know she did not. She fought, and our beautiful daughter suffered for so long as he took no mercy in the 114 times he stabbed her."
Earlier in the sentencing phase, Bailey’s sister had peppered him with uncomfortable and lingering questions about the moment he murdered the 13-year-old cheerleader.
"Did she see you coming at her with the knife or did you stab her while she wasn't paying attention?” Tristyn's sister Alexis Bailey asked Fucci at his sentencing. “Did she beg you to stop? ... What were her last words? Did you stay to watch her die?"
Following Fucci’s guilty plea last month, he had offered an apology to the Bailey family.
"I just want to say I plead guilty and I'm sorry for the Bailey family and my family," Fucci said in court Feb. 6.
Fucci’s attempt at contrition, however, was quickly shot down by Bailey’s father, who said he doesn’t believe the accused teen killer regrets his daughter’s grisly murder.
"I want to be clear, your insincere apology is not accepted,” Forrest Bailey told Fucci in response. “At no point in time have I seen any remorse."
Bailey’s brother, Teegan Bailey, also addressed the court when victim impact statements were read. In the two years since his sister’s slaying, Teegan Bailey said he’s lived with immense “guilt.” He said he’d been watching television with Tristyn shortly before she vanished, but had gone to bed before she left the house.
"Every single day I can't help to wonder had I slept on that couch instead or I had stayed up later ... there's a possibility my little sister could still be alive today,” Teegan Baliey said. “I have lived with that question, that weight, that guilt since I went to wake up Tristyn on Mother's Day and found her room empty."