Murder trial for teen Aiden Fucci set to begin this week. Will it be delayed again?

Judge will consider moving trial out of St. Johns County if impartial jury can’t be found

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On Monday, jury selection is set to begin in the murder trial against Aiden Fucci.

The St. Johns County teenager is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his schoolmate, Tristyn Bailey.

Bailey was found stabbed to death on Mother’s Day in 2021.

Now, nearly two years after Bailey was found murdered in her Durbin Crossing neighborhood, the trial against her accused killer is ramping up. But will it be delayed for a second time?

That question centers around the defense’s argument that Fucci is entitled to a 12-member jury instead of the 6-member group the judge has already ruled on.

Gene Nichols, a defense attorney not affiliated with the Fucci case, was on The Morning Show on Sunday and he was asked, “From your perspectives as a criminal defense attorney, what would you say is the advantage to having a 12-person jury?”

RELATED: State Attorney’s Office releases photos taken during Aiden Fucci’s questioning

“Trying to convince 12 people to convict a child even though he’s being tried as an adult, with such a serious crime, is not the easiest thing to do. The defense has a better chance of getting somebody out of 12, instead of six and agree with them and either go with not guilty or hang a jury,” Nichols said.

Even though Fucci’s attorney has appealed the matter to a higher court, Nichols believes, unless the trial judge is ordered to stop the proceedings, jury selection will go on as planned.

There’s also the question of finding impartial jurors.

Fucci’s attorney has already asked that the trial be moved somewhere else, citing extensive media coverage.

The medical examiner determined the tip of a knife found in a nearby pond was found in Bailey’s scalp. Investigators said other evidence including blood and DNA linked Fucci to Bailey’s death. There’s also neighborhood surveillance video showing Bailey and Fucci walking together and later on, Fucci returning alone.

RELATED: How the murder case against Aiden Fucci has played out in court so far

Nichols says jury selection will come down to finding people who can set aside what they know about the case and be open-minded.

“What the problem is going to be in this case is it’s a small community. Many people have opinions about his case and if you already have pre-developed opinions, then you’re not going to sit on this case. That’s why jury selection is going to be important. And why the defense is going to have spend time with each individual,” Nichols said. “Yes, you may have heard something, but are you going to be fair and impartial?”

The judge has said he will consider moving the trial out of St. Johns County if an impartial jury cannot be found.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.