ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Aiden Fucci, the 14-year-old charged with second-degree murder in the death of 13-year-old schoolmate Tristyn Bailey, will now be represented by the Public Defender’s Office after a judge granted his attorney’s motion to withdraw as counsel on Thursday.
Attorney Anwar Snober had represented Fucci since his arrest. Snober did not specify why he wanted off the case but said he was in agreement with Fucci’s family members. Snober did not return News4Jax’s call for comment this week.
Fucci’s parents were on a Zoom call hearing on Thursday afternoon about the motion, but Fucci was not present.
Judge Joan Anthony, from the 7th judicial circuit, said the clerk of court approved the indigency application from Fucci’s mother, Crystal L. Smith, but denied the application from his father, Jason Fucci.
However, upon learning that he supported three not two people in the household, she overturned the ruling.
Jason Fucci noted that he is self-employed but his company’s business has taken a “downward fall” since the crime. He said it was his only source of income.
News4Jax found state records that show the elder Fucci owns a lawn service company in Clay County.
Public Defender Josh Mosley will be the lead attorney on the teen’s case, said Public Defender Matt Phillips, who will also be involved.
Gene Nichols, an attorney not affiliated with the case, said it’ll likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend Fucci.
“It is an absolute constitutional rights in every state that any individual who is indigent and potentially facing incarceration has the opportunity to have the Public Defender’s office represent them,” Nichols said.
The attorney added: “The question is going to be whether or not the family can afford private counsel, and there are certain statutory thresholds in order to have the Public Defender’s Office appointed.”
Fucci is in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice. He is the lone suspect in Bailey’s murder, according to St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick. No information about a possible motive in the case has been released.
Bailey was reported missing the morning of May 9. A neighbor found her body that afternoon.
The medical examiner’s office determined Bailey, who had what investigators described as a “significant injury to her head and other trauma,” was stabbed to death. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Thousands of people have signed a change.org petition asking the State Attorney’s Office to charge Fucci as an adult. He’s been ordered to remain in juvenile detention until May 31.
Bailey’s family held a Celebration of Life this week that was attended by hundreds of loved ones and watched by countless more online.