Aiden Fucci’s mental health likely to be a focus during sentencing hearing, attorney says

Fucci pleaded guilty to 1st-degree murder in death of schoolmate Tristyn Bailey

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – In a St. Johns County courtroom on Monday, when Aiden Fucci pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of his 13-year-old schoolmate Tristyn Bailey, the 16-year-old disclosed the medications he is currently taking.

Circuit Judge R. Lee Smith wanted to be sure that Fucci fully understood the guilty plea he was entering, asking the teen if he was under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication. Fucci told the court that he is taking three medications prescribed by a doctor: Remeron, lithium and Zyprexa.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, Zyprexa is a common name brand of a medication named olanzapine, which is commonly used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The drug helps to regulate mood, behaviors and thoughts.

The medication lithium also treats bipolar disorder.

And Remeron is used mainly to treat a major depressive disorder but is occasionally prescribed to treat other mental health issues like generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety.

RELATED: Tristyn Bailey: The murder that sent shockwaves through St. Johns County | Aiden Fucci pleads guilty to first-degree murder in death of Tristyn Bailey | Tristyn Bailey’s family says guilty plea brings ‘significant relief,’ is milestone in ‘journey of justice’ | St. Johns County sheriff, community react to Aiden Fucci pleading guilty to murder in Tristyn Bailey’s death | What’s next for Aiden Fucci? | Former state attorney says Fucci guilty plea timing was ‘unusual,’ may have been motivated by his mother | How will Aiden Fucci’s defense prepare for the sentencing phase? A juvenile law expert provides insight

Defense attorney Randy Reep, who is not associated with this case, told News4JAX that Fucci’s mental health will likely be his defense team’s focus during his sentencing hearing and when his case is reviewed in 25 years.

“Almost all crimes we see here nowadays, especially these types of violent crimes, certainly mental health is a component,” Reep said Tuesday. “And I know Judge Smith will want to drill down on the why we got here. He’s a thoughtful, thoughtful, thoughtful, judge, and I’m sure he’s going to want to understand that.”

Bailey was found stabbed to death on May 9, 2021, Mother’s Day, in Durbin Crossing, less than a half-mile from Fucci’s home in the neighborhood where Bailey also lived. Fucci, who was 14 at the time, was arrested in the early morning hours of the next day.

Reep said Fucci’s upbringing and family structure will also be a factor in his defense. But Reep said he anticipates the judge will follow the sentencing guidelines and not offer Fucci any leniency.

“I don’t think, currently, the judge will have much flexibility at all. There’d have to be extraordinary findings that I do not see present in this case,” Reep said. “And I just don’t think it’s likely at all, and frankly, impossible for that to happen.”

The date for Fucci’s sentencing hearing has not yet been set, but a status conference is scheduled for Feb. 23.

Fucci is not eligible for the death penalty. He faces at least 40 years behind bars.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.