Aiden Fucci, teen accused of killing Tristyn Bailey, wants transfer from Duval County jail

Defense attorneys file motion with 29 points, say client has been in solitary confinement for 400+ days

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Defense attorneys for Aiden Fucci, the teenager charged in the murder of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey, have filed a motion, requesting the court transfer pre-trial custody of their client.

The attorneys make note of 29 points in their motion, filed Friday, which they hope would lead to their client being moved out of the John. E. Good Pre-trial Detention Facility in Duval County. The document notes that Fucci “has been in a form of solitary confinement” for over 400 days, with exceptions where he was in the general population for 129 days.

It adds the Duval County jail has held Fucci in confinement, alone in a cell for 24 hours a day, saying he’s “denied access to any form of group recreation either indoor or outdoor; he is denied access to group education, he is not allowed to eat meals out of his cell; he is not permitted to participate in congregate religious services or jail programs.”

Attorneys write that Fucci will occasionally have a video call with family members and that he will meet with a member of his defense team a few times of month. It notes the defense team is trying to increase that to weekly visits to provide Fucci “some relief from the lengthy period of solitary confinement.”

The motion contends, according to the defense’s education, that Fucci is held in solitary confinement for threats against him within the jail — and previously for other reasons.

“It is not uncommon for Defendants held for pre-trial detention to be moved between county jails for safety where there is a threat of violence or other considerations,” the defense writes. “It is unknown why Child/Defendant Aiden Fucci is treated differently when a remedy absent tortuous conditions are available for his safety.”

According to the motion, the prosecution has refused efforts to resolve the issue via a negotiated plea. It says that the decision to keep Fucci in confinement has amounted to psychological punishment. On Tuesday, the State Attorney’s Office responded to what was in the motion that said the prosecution has refused many efforts to resolve this case via a negotiated plea, saying, “The state has not offered any term of years on the case.”

The defense is asking the court to consider its list of issues and set the matter for an evidentiary hearing.

Sections of the document directly make note to the “Duval County sheriff.”

We asked Jacksonville attorney Randy Reep, who is not affiliated with the case, his thoughts on the motion.

“I think you are going to find it is likely beyond the scope of what a judge can do to tell the executive branch how to do their job,” Reep told News4JAX. ”The judge’s job is to make sure the courtroom is handled appropriately. He’s probably not going to come from behind the bench and rule that the sheriff should do it any particular way.”

Maria Morris is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s national prison project. She’s also not affiliated with the case, but notably, Fucci’s attorney included an ACLU report in the motion, which finds solitary confirment of children is damaging to their psychology and development, and can lead to long-term problems.

“There’s a growing consensus throughout the world that it’s just not right,” Morris said.

Attorney Gene Nichols, not associated with the case, says he thinks the court will rule on the defense’s request quickly.

As long as we’re not addressing some form of mental health defense, this should have no effect on the trial,” Nichols said.

He noted that if Fucci is having mental health issues because of his time in solitary, it could be a factor in the trial, although the motion dosen’t include any evaluations of Fucci from mental health professionals.

Fucci is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Bailey, his schoolmate. She was found stabbed to death on Mother’s Day last year in Durbin Crossing, less than a half-mile from Fucci’s home in the neighborhood where Bailey also lived. He was arrested in the early morning hours the next day.

Fucci is being tried as an adult, although he was 14 at the time of his arrest. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. As a juvenile when the offense occurred, he is not eligible for the death penalty. He’s been in the Duval County jail because St. Johns County’s jail does not have a juvenile wing.

On Dec. 2, there will be a status hearing for Fucci. His trial period could be released by then. It’s scheduled to begin sometime in February.

About the Authors:

Veteran journalist and Emmy Award winning anchor

I-TEAM and general assignment reporter