JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Before his routine pre-trial hearing Wednesday was passed to Oct. 28, 14-year-old accused killer Aiden Fucci appeared on a video feed from the Duval County jail wearing an orange jumpsuit and a confused expression.
Fucci, the St. Johns County teen accused of killing his schoolmate Tristyn Bailey earlier this year, was led handcuffed into a room with a phone so that he could hear the court proceedings. He appeared frightened and looked around the room with a confused, dazed expression.
A guard came into the room, took the phone receiver off the wall and handed it to Fucci, who flipped his long hair back and continued looking disoriented as he held the receiver to his ear.
He then started rocking back and forth in his seat, looking around the room in confusion and muttering. At one point, he can be heard talking about demons, saying “Please don’t let the demons take my soul. The demons are going to take my soul away.”
Then he asks, “What’s going on?”
Before saying in a plaintive tone: “Why am I here? I just want to talk to my mom and dad. What’s going on? What’s going on?”
Fucci’s feed eventually ended, his lawyer filed a speedy trial waiver, which most defendants do, and the case was passed to Oct. 28.
A forensic psychologist not affiliated with the case said after watching the video of Fucci’s behavior on the court feed, he wouldn’t be surprised if the teen receives a mental competency evaluation.
“He definitely looked disoriented and confused. It’s hard to tell if he’s feigning mental illness or if something is really happening with him,” said Dr. Justin D’Arienzo. “From my perspective, it seemed genuine, given the pattern of behavior today and from what else we know.”
According to court records, investigators said Fucci had a notebook with satanic drawings and his girlfriend told investigators he would hear voices in his head that would tell him to kill people.
He also mentioned to friends he planned to kill someone, according to detectives.
D’Arienzo said Fucci’s previous patterns of behavior will likely play a part in the case.
Attorney Gene Nichols, who is also not affiliated with this case, said it would not be unusual to see a competency evaluation in a case like Fucci’s, but that it could drag out the case.
“What you would see in most of these cases, you’re going to have your client evaluated for competency, especially for a young person like this, to allegedly commit such an awful crime,” Nichols said. “It can cost several months of waiting in order to debate competency.”
At this time, the judge has not ordered Fucci to have a mental competency evaluation. Investigators have also not said if Fucci suffers from a mental disorder.
A separate hearing scheduled Wednesday for Crystal Smith, Fucci’s mother, was also passed to Oct. 28. She is currently out on bond.
Fucci is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 13-year-old Bailey, whose body was found on Mother’s Day less than a half-mile from Fucci’s home. Fucci is in custody at the Duval County jail while he awaits trial.
Smith is charged with evidence tampering, a third-degree felony, in connection with the case. She is accused of washing a pair of jeans that later tested positive for blood.
Wednesday’s scheduled pretrial hearings followed the release of video footage that included two clips of surveillance video from Durbin Crossing, the subdivision where Fucci and Bailey lived, video from inside Fucci’s home and several clips that were uploaded to Snapchat.
The videos will likely play a role when these cases go to trial.
TIMELINE: The investigation into Tristyn Bailey’s disappearance and death
The first piece of video released was a two-minute clip recorded from a neighbor’s home that shows two people walking along the sidewalk in the subdivision about 12:15 a.m. May 9. The second clip shows someone running alone in the opposite direction over an hour later.
Those clips appear to back up the arrest warrant for Fucci, which said surveillance video showed two people, believed to be the teens, walking east on Saddlestone Drive in the early morning hours of May 9 before one was later seen heading west on the same street.
A 16-minute clip appears to have been recorded on a surveillance camera inside Fucci’s home. At one point, the video shows a woman running upstairs and picking up some clothes from a room, including a pair of jeans, before doing something to them off-camera.
According to charging documents, Smith is accused of washing her son’s blue jeans while he was being questioned about Bailey’s disappearance. Investigators said the jeans tested positive for the presence of blood, despite efforts to clean them.
Other footage released includes three clips of cellphone video. The first shows Fucci and a friend in the back of a patrol car. “Having fun in a (expletive) cop car,” Fucci can be heard saying. “What’s up guys? Tristyn if you (expletive) walk out the damn…” before it cuts off.
The two other cellphone videos show Fucci briefly and the contents of a law enforcement officer’s trunk, which contains a rifle and tactical gear.
Bailey, 13, was reported missing by family May 9 before being found stabbed more than 100 times near a pond in the Durbin Crossing subdivision.
Fucci, who attended Patriot Oaks Academy with Bailey, was arrested a day later and is considered the lone suspect in her murder. Based on the circumstances involved in the case, Fucci will be tried as an adult. He has pleaded not guilty in the case.