ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The teen accused of killing 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey earlier this month will be tried as an adult on a first-degree murder charge.
Aiden Fucci, 14, has been in custody at the Department of Juvenile Justice facility in Daytona Beach since his arrest on May 10. He was being held as a juvenile on a second-degree murder charge.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza gave an update on the case Thursday afternoon at the St. John’s County Courthouse.
Larizza said investigators have collected a large amount of evidence in the case, including the suspected murder weapon and Bailey’s DNA that was found on shoes and a t-shirt located in Fucci’s bedroom.
Larizza said Bailey was stabbed 114 times and a knife believed to belong to Fucci was found in a pond near where Bailey’s body was found.
“The executive team and I reviewed all the facts, all the circumstances, the applicable law and it was not a difficult decision to make that he should be charged as an adult,” Larizza said. “It’s a sad decision and a sad state of affairs, but it was clear to us after we looked at what happened that it was not only appropriate to charge the defendant as an adult, but it was really the only choice that we could make.”
Larizza added that Fucci made statements to friends that he planned to kill someone by taking them into the woods and stabbing them.
Fucci is the lone suspect in her murder.
In Florida, a grand jury must convene before first-degree murder charges are filed. An indictment was handed to the State Attorney’s Office Thursday. The indictment automatically transfers a juvenile case to adult court. Fucci will be rearrested and moved to the jurisdiction of adult court, which is protocol in cases like this.
MORE | Teen accused of killing Tristyn Bailey will now be represented by public defender
On Monday, a circuit judge appointed the Public Defender’s Office to take over the case after Fucci’s private attorney, Anwar Snober, withdrew for unknown reasons. A judge found Fucci’s parents indigent and unable to pay for a private lawyer. Assistant Public Defender Joshua Mosley is the attorney assigned to represent Fucci.
There is also a notice to transfer the case to adult court with Judge R. Lee Smith assigned.
Bailey’s body was found on Mother’s Day near a retention pond in a cul-de-sac in the Durbin Crossing subdivision, less than a half-mile from Fucci’s home, according to an arrest report. The discovery was made by a neighbor out for a walk around 6 p.m., roughly eight hours after Bailey’s family called 911 to report her missing.
Earlier this month, thousands of community members signed change.org petitions, asking the State Attorney’s Office and Gov. Ron DeSantis to charge Fucci as an adult and with first-degree murder.
After Larizza’s announcement, Bailey’s family issued a statement to News4Jax: