Sheriff argues Aiden Fucci should not get to choose where he is housed as he awaits murder trial

Fucci is accused of killing 13-year-old schoolmate Tristyn Bailey in 2021

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office filed a response to Aiden Fucci’s request to be removed from the Duval County jail.

Defense attorneys for Fucci, who is accused of killing his schoolmate, 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey, filed a motion Friday requesting the court transfer pre-trial custody of their client.

Fucci is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Bailey, who was found brutally stabbed on Mother’s Day last year.

In a motion filed by St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick’s attorneys Wednesday, Hardwick said he does not want the teen to change jails.

Fucci’s attorneys, however, are requesting less restrictive confinement while he awaits trial.

Fucci is currently housed in the Duval County jail because the St. John’s County jail does not have a juvenile wing. His attorneys argue that Fucci has been enduring psychological punishment by being held in what the court document called a “form of solitary confinement” for over 400 days.

Fucci’s defense motion states that the teen is held in solitary confinement 24 hours a day, is not allowed to eat outside his cell or participate in group recreation or religious services.

In the response motion, Hardwick concludes that Fucci does not get to pick what jail to be held at, as he lost those rights when he was indicted by a grand jury for first-degree murder.

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

Hardwick’s attorneys argue that the transfer would violate the “separation of powers” doctrine that recognizes the three separate branches of government, each with its own powers and responsibilities.

The document states that the operation of the county jail is within the realm of the executive and legislative branches of government, not the judicial branch.

Hardwick also argues that Fucci is not entitled by law to pick his classification.

Court documents reveal the teen is currently classified as a convicted felon, and this classification remains with the defendant regardless of the facility.

A judge will ultimately decide what happens with the motion.

Bailey’s family wrote on Facebook this Thanksgiving, saying in part:

“It is so very difficult to celebrate a day focused on thankfulness with family gathered around when we’re still devastated our baby is not here. While our hearts are hurting at not having everyone together, we choose to focus on being so incredibly thankful for the love we’ve seen.”

Fucci is set to be back in court on Dec. 2.

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.