JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) – Aiden Fucci, the teenager convicted of murdering 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey in 2021, was sentenced to life in prison Friday morning.
Fucci pleaded guilty to murdering Tristyn Bailey, who was stabbed 114 times, last February. For the past three days, testimonies were heard as a judge determined what sentence to give the now-16-year-old defendant.
“Tristyn Bailey was conscious, she was aware, and she was doing everything she could to fend off this attack,” Circuit Judge R. Lee Smith said. “She suffered a painful, horrifying death from someone that she trusted.”
“There was a heightened level of premeditation in this case,” he later added.
Lee said Fucci’s age did play a factor in his decision, saying it is known that the brain is not fully developed at the age of 14, which is how old Fucci was when he committed the murder.
However, the judge said Fucci was totally responsible for the murder because nobody enticed him into killing Tristyn Bailey. He also said that Tristyn’s death was highly premeditated and had no motive, which meant that the teenager did not kill her out of impulse.
Fucci stated that he was sorry nine times in a handwritten letter released by the court, as he apologized to the Bailey family, his own family, and the community for taking the young girl’s life, according to a copy obtained by WTLV.
“I’m sorry that you didn’t get to know her that long. You did not have any long relationships with [Tristyn] and for that i’m sorry,” he wrote in an apology to the Bailey family. “For the Community i’m sorry i brought all this pain on everyday and i’m sorry and i know my [apology] will not fix anything or bring her back but i hop it help in some way.”
Fucci also apologized for the effects his actions had on his own family, saying he missed spending time with his parents and siblings.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, Aiden Fucci’s grandmother Deborah Spiwak took the stand, asking the judge not to take him out of his family’s lives forever.
“I’d die not being able to spend time with him sometime before I go,” Spiwak said.
However, the Bailey family asked the judge to sentence him to life in prison.
During their testimony on Thursday, Tristyn Bailey’s sister Alexis put 114 stones in a jar, each representing a stab wound that Fucci inflicted on the 13-year-old girl.
“Did she scream out for help, or was she paralyzed with agony?” Alexis Bailey asked Aiden Fucci directly. “Did she cry for my mother? Did she beg you to stop?”
Before issuing his sentence Friday, Smith told the Bailey family that this sentence will not end their suffering.
“I cannot bring her back,” he said. “I cannot provide a closure to this.”
He urged, however, for the family to allow healing back into their lives.
“Allow Bailey Sunday Fun Days to return to your home,” the judge said. “Allow laughter to return to your home because in depriving yourselves of that, it would continue to victimize Tristyn because it’s not what she would want. She would want that happiness and that laughter to return.”
Fucci has 30 days to appeal the judge’s decision. Smith said because of Fucci’s age, he can have his sentence reviewed in 25 years.
Fucci’s mother, Crystal Smith, still has a criminal case open concerning a charge of evidence tampering.