Florida teen accused of stabbing cheerleader 114 times refuses to be released from solitary confinement

A Florida teen accused of stabbing a cheerleader 114 times will be held in solitary confinement despite the efforts of his lawyers.

Aiden Fucci is accused of stabbing 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey to death in a case that continues to rock St. Johns County, Florida. During a pretrial hearing Tuesday, a county judge rejected several motions brought by the 15-year-old suspect’s defense, including an attempt to have his client released from solitary confinement at the Duval County jail ahead of trial for murder, according to Jacksonville’s WJXT.

Fucci was placed in Duval County because the St. Johns County Jail does not have the facilities to house a minor. However, Fucci is on trial as an adult on first degree murder charges.

Bailey’s family reported her missing on Mother’s Day 2021, and a volunteer searcher found her body hours later near a retention pond in Durbin Crossing, just south of Jacksonville and less than half a mile from Fucci’s home. who was then 14 years old.

Surveillance video discovered later showed Bailey and a suspect, believed to be Fucci, walking in the area around 1:45 a.m. m. The two had attended Patriot Oaks Academy together before the girl’s murder.

Tristyn Bailey and Aiden Fucci. Photo: St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office

Additional surveillance video captured the suspect running alone more than an hour later.

Fucci was arrested the next day and posted a Snapchat post of himself in the back seat of a police car without handcuffs. He captioned it: “Hey guys, has anyone [sic] seen Tristyn lately?” while holding a peace sign with his hand. Police also released other videos that he took while in the back of a police car.

While in custody, investigators said Fucci’s story “changed several times” and that he made “several admissions.” Among them, he allegedly told police that she grabbed him when he tried to kiss her, he pushed her, and she fell and hit her head.

He was arrested shortly after Bailey’s body was found 18 months ago and has been in jail ever since.

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According to the 215-page motion filed Nov. 18, Fucci spent more than 400 days in those 18 months “in a form of solitary confinement” and was “denied access” to the rest of the general population and their granted privileges, including meals outside your cell and religious services. (He has been in custody for a total of 583 days.)

“The defense investigation has revealed that the defendant is being held in solitary confinement, currently due to threats of violence against the defendant inside the jail in May 2022,” the lawyer stated. “And previously, for disciplinary action in January 2022 and suicidal ideation in 2021,” the motion read.

St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick, who previously referred to Bailey’s murder as “cold-blooded,” filed a motion through his own attorneys to keep Fucci where he is, according to WJXT.

A police gift from Geovanni Borjas

Hardwick alleged that allowing Fucci’s transfer out of isolation would violate the state’s “separation of powers.”

Fucci’s defense had also requested a change of venue, blaming “pervasive pretrial publicity” and “community hostility” for why Fucci might not get a fair trial in St. Johns and neighboring counties, according to First Coast News.

In support of their argument, the defense cited numerous teal ribbons hung in honor of the victim in the days following her death and no less than nine events to commemorate the 13-year-old girl, as well as other “various mementos “, according to WJXT.

They also cited comments from state attorney R.J. Larizza, in which Larizza claimed that Fucci gave “statements to various people that he was going to kill someone”, referring to an alleged premeditation.

“The bottom line is that premeditation could be inferred, certainly just from the extensive number of stab wounds Tristyn Bailey sustained,” Larizza said.

St. Johns County Judge R. Lee Smith denied the defense’s motion to move the trial, but said he might reconsider his decision later if an impartial jury could not be assembled.

Fucci’s mother, Crystal Smith, was charged with tampering with evidence related to Bailey’s murder. Surveillance video from inside her and Fucci’s home allegedly shows her taking Fucci’s jeans and cleaning them of blood.

Both mother and son have pleaded not guilty.

Crystal Smith is expected to face trial in April, according to Jacksonville CBS affiliate WJAX-TV.

Jury selection for Fucci’s trial is scheduled to begin on February 6 and is expected to last three to four days.

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