ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Aiden Fucci entered a plea of guilty Tuesday morning in the 2021 killing of St. Johns County 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey.
Judge R. Lee Smith accepted Fucci’s plea to the count of first-degree murder.
>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<
Fucci made a very brief statement, saying, “I’m sorry for the Bailey family and my family.”
Fucci will appear in court again on Feb. 23 for a status hearing and Smith said a sentencing date will be chosen then.
Read: Prosecutors: 14-year-old Florida boy stabbed 13-year-old girl 114 times, now being charged as an adult
The sentencing is expected to take two days.
Fucci’s defense team filed a motion Wednesday morning requesting the trial be pushed back. Smith denied that motion.
Fucci is being charged as an adult with first-degree premeditated murder. Jury selection in his trial was set to start Monday prior to his guilty plea.
Read: Crystal Smith, mother of 13-year-old accused of murder, arrested for tampering with evidence
Last month, Action News Jax told you when Smith agreed with the state’s motion for a six-person jury. Prosecutors argued there is no constitutional right to a 12-person jury. That’s because Fucci is a minor and can’t receive the death penalty.
Fucci is accused of killing Tristyn on Mother’s Day in 2021. Investigators said he stabbed Tristyn more than 100 times in Durbin Crossing, less than a half-mile from Fucci’s house in the neighborhood where they both lived.
St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick released the following statement about the plea:
“Aiden Fucci’s decision to enter a guilty plea today is nothing more than a testament to the hard work and dedication of the exceptional men and women of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJSO). This was an allout agency effort.
“This was also an incredible community effort. The citizens of St. Johns County always show up and this case was no different. The immediate assistance from our community reaffirms the partnership we have with our citizens. The support they showed the Bailey Family was something special to witness.
“The trial preparation process is just as tedious as the investigation itself. The detectives have not stopped working this case since the initial call we received. The State Attorney’s Office immediately went to work upon Fucci’s arrest and has put forth countless hours to prepare for today. SJSO has worked hand-in-hand with the State Attorney’s Office and we couldn’t be more appreciative of the partnership. Additionally, I’d like to thank the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for their unwavering assistance since the start of this case.
“Lastly, the cooperation between our agency and the Bailey Family has been unparalleled. Their strength and grace throughout this case has been incredible. This agency will forever be connected to the Bailey Family and this community will forever be #BaileyStrong.”
Channel 9′s sister station, Action News Jax, compiled this report.
Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.
©2023 Cox Media Group