Teen has been charged as an adult for murder of 13-year-old cheerleader

Aiden Fucci, 13, of Jacksonville, Florida. [Image credit: St. John's County Sheriff's Office]

Jacksonville, Florida: 13-year-old Aiden Fucci made his first appearance in adult court today before Judge Howard M. Maltz via Zoom.


"You have been indicted by the St. Johns County Grand Jury on the charge of first-degree premeditated murder," Maltz informed him after he was sworn in and read his rights. "That is a capital felony. That is normally punishable by up to death or life imprisonment. In your case, because you are not yet 18 years old, death is not a possible sentence pursuant to the Florida and United States Supreme Courts, but this charge does carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Do you understand the charge against you?," Maltz asked.


"Yes, sir," Fucci replied.


The attorney for the state requested that Fucci be held without bond.


The appointed public defender Rosmarie Peoples did not contest the request but stated that pretrial release would be addressed "at a later date with appropriate motions and witnesses."


Maltz advised that the next step in the process was an arraignment unless the right to the arraignment was waived in writing. It will be scheduled within the next few weeks unless waived.


After the indictment was handed down yesterday state attorney R.J. Larizza of Florida's Seventh Judicial District held a press conference in which he disclosed that 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey had been stabbed 114 times.


"It was not [a] difficult decision to make that he should be charged as an adult," Larizza stated. "It's a sad decision. And a sad state of affairs. But was clear to us after we looked at what happened that it was not only appropriate to charge the defendant as an adult, but it was really the only choice we could make."


"There were 114 stab wounds," he continued. "One hundred and fourteen. At least 49 of those stab wounds were to the hands, arms, and the head and were defensive in nature. The bottom line is that premeditation could be inferred, certainly, from just the sheer number of stab wounds that Tristryn had to suffer."


Larizza additionally disclosed that the tip of a knife Fucci was known to regularly carry had been recovered from a pond near where Tristyn's body had been found. The tip of the knife was broken, and according to the medical examiner, the tip was recovered from Tristyn's scalp.


"To say that it was 'horrific' could arguably be made as an understatement."


The prosecution also disclosed that it had learned that Fucci evidently "made statements to several people that he intended to kill someone. He didn't say who that was, but he indicated to witnesses he was going to kill someone by taking them in the woods and stabbing them- which are certainly the facts of this case."