13-Year-Old Tristyn Bailey’s Accused Teen Killer Aiden Fucci Pleads Not Guilty to First-Degree Murder
Aiden Fucci, 14, is being charged as an adult and may spend life in prison if convicted. If he were to be found guilty, he would not be eligible for the death penalty because of his age.
Florida cheerleader Tristyn Bailey's 14-year-old alleged assailant pleaded not guilty to her murder Thursday. Aiden Fucci is currently facing a first-degree murder charge in Bailey's death and is being charged as an adult.
Fucci's plea was filed by his lawyer on his behalf, and was accepted by the court, which cancels his scheduled arraignment on June 10.
His next court appearance for a pretrial hearing is scheduled for July 28.
He is currently being held without bond in the juvenile wing of Duval County jail because the local St. Johns County's jail does not have a juvenile wing, WJXT reported.
Fucci, who was Tristyn's schoolmate, is the only suspect in her murder. If he were found guilty of the charge of first-degree murder, Fucci could face life in prison, but because of his age, he would not eligible for the death penalty.
Bailey's body had been found stabbed 114 times, and Fucci had reportedly told people "he was going to kill someone" shortly before, Florida State Attorney R.J. Larizza revealed.
The new allegations surrounding the 13-year-old's murder were revealed in a news conference last week. Last week, Judge Howard M. Maltz upgraded charges against Fucci, who was in the grade above Bailey at the Patriot Oaks Academy.
He had previously been charged with second-degree murder and was being held in juvenile detention.
"It was not only appropriate to charge the defendant as an adult, but it was really the only choice that we can make," Larizza said, according to WJXT. "It's clear that he was considering a homicide."
Larizza said that witnesses recalled Fucci having told them "he was going to kill someone by taking them in the woods and stabbing them, which are certainly the facts of this case."
Tristyn’s body was later found with 114 stab wounds, with at least 49 of them sustained on her hands, arms and head, which prosecutors believed were “defensive in nature,” Larizza said.
The same knife that killed Tristyn had been found in the lake near where her body was discovered. Medical examiners knew it was the same knife because the tip of it had been broken off in her body.
Based on witness recounts and the report from the medical examiner office, Larizza said they determined there was “premeditation” to Fucci’s alleged crime.
Fucci had reportedly told investigators varying stories about what happened the night of her killing, according to a police report now available after his case moved from juvenile justice to adult court, WTLV reported.
Investigators say they ultimately learned that the pair had left a mutual friend’s house together before they got into an argument. “He forcefully pushed the victim to the ground striking her head,” the police report stated.
Bailey’s DNA was reportedly found on shoes belonging to Fucci that were found in his bedroom, prosecutors said.
Fucci's attorney has not responded to Inside Edition Digital's request for comment.
"We greatly appreciate the tremendous community outpouring from all parts of the world," the Bailey family said in a statement issued through the St. Johns County's Sheriff's Office following the decision to try Fucci as an adult, thanking law enforcement for their efforts. "Particularly for those in St. Johns that have helped from the Mother's Day search, the vigils, remembrances and memorials. With the press conference sharing details of this heinous crime, the caring and love shown from the people and businesses to raise up the memory of Tristyn and the resolve of our community serve as a beacon of light in the darkness."
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