On May 27, a St. Johns County Grand Jury indicted 14-year-old Aiden Fucci on first-degree murder charges for the stabbing death of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey. Fucci was initially charged with second-degree murder, but the charges were upgraded to first-degree murder due to the nature of the crime. This indictment automatically moves his case to adult court.
Bailey’s family reported her missing in the early hours of May 9. Her body was later found that day in a wooded area near her house. Bailey sustained a total of 114 stab wounds, with at least 49 defensive wounds to her head, hands, and arms.
Fucci was immediately called into questioning by police and taken into custody on May 10. The arrest warrant shows that friends of Fucci told investigators that he made multiple statements indicating he intended to kill someone by taking them into the woods and stabbing them. DNA evidence was also found connecting Bailey to Fucci, including her DNA on some of his clothing.
“It brings me no pleasure to be charging a 14-year-old as an adult with first-degree murder. But I can tell you also that the executive team and I reviewed all the facts, all the circumstances, the applicable law, and it was not a difficult decision to make that he should be charged as an adult,” R.J. Larizza, state attorney for the 7th Judicial Circuit, said.
Florida is one of 15 states that give prosecutors discretion via direct file laws to charge children as adults without any interference by a judge. Due to Florida’s broad direct file law, Florida transfers more children to adult court than any other state.
First-degree premeditated murder is a capital felony, normally punishable by up to death or life imprisonment. However, due to Fucci’s age, he is not eligible for the death penalty. Fucci is currently incarcerated in Duval County Jail where he is being held with no bond.
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