Attorney for Aiden Fucci, teen accused of killing Tristyn Bailey, files exhibits in support of venue change request

Fucci’s lawyer also filed a new motion asking the court to compel the prosecution to disclose more information that could help the defense

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The lawyer for Aiden Fucci, the teen accused of killing 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey, on Wednesday filed exhibits in support of a motion seeking a change of venue, as well as a new motion.

The exhibits include hundreds of pages of media stories, with the defense arguing extensive media coverage of the case and public support for the family of Bailey has made it impossible to find an unbiased local jury.

Fucci’s attorney also filed a motion asking the court to compel the prosecution to disclose information that could help the defense.

“It’s not something that you commonly see, though, in these types of cases,” attorney Cassandra Smith, who is not affiliated with the case, said of the defense’s motion asking the judge to compel the state to provide all information it has regarding mitigating circumstances in the case. ”But we know that this is a high-profile case, and I think the defense is doing everything they can to preserve their client’s constitutional rights and kind of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.”

The defense contends the state attorney’s office, which has greater resources than the public defender’s office, is in a better position to “disclose and discover” mitigating circumstances that might be available to Fucci.

The defense does not specify what mitigating circumstances might exist but contends, if the state does not provide the information, Fucci’s right to a fair trial would be violated, as well as his right against cruel and unusual punishment.

Fucci’s attorney says, if the state provides the information on mitigating circumstances, she would be able to “devote more of her time toward developing other aspects of the case which are not discoverable by the state.”

News4JAX asked Smith why the defense would spend their time filing 1,500 pages of news reports as a supplemental exhibit rather than compiling the mitigating factors it’s asking the prosecution to locate.

“I think they are, might be putting all their eggs in a basket to get the venue change, and so maybe hoping that that will be the stronger motion,” Smith said.

She said that if the judge grants a venue change or if there is more discovery that needs to be turned over, it could potentially delay the trial once again.

“I know that the family is wanting to get justice, and it’s been a year and a half,” Smith said. “I think it’s going to be up to the judge to decide.”

Fucci’s pretrial hearing scheduled for Friday was continued to Dec. 13.

TIMELINE: The investigation into Tristyn Bailey’s disappearance and death

Tristyn Bailey

Fucci, now 15, 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 St. Johns County neighborhood where Bailey also lived. He was arrested in the early morning hours the next day. Home surveillance videos show the two teens walking through the neighborhood and then only Fucci returning home.

Last week, attorneys for Fucci filed a motion, asking for their client to be moved out of the Duval County jail. Then they filed another motion, this one for a change of venue, saying their client cannot get a fair trial in the Seventh Judicial Circuit, which encompasses St. Johns, Flagler, Putnam and Volusia counties. The attorneys also say an impartial jury can’t be found in any of the neighboring counties in the region. One reason they list is pretrial publicity. The attorneys want the trial moved to an alternate Florida county.

Fucci has been in the Duval County jail pending his trial because the jail in St. Johns County does not have a juvenile wing.

And a hearing for Fucci’s mother, Crystal Smith, has been struck from Friday’s docket. Her next court date is now in April.

Smith is charged with tampering with evidence. Investigators said she washed blood off her son’s blue jeans while he was being questioned.


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