Tristyn Bailey’s family: Guilty plea brings ‘significant relief’; a milestone in ‘journey of justice’

Statement from 13-year-old’s family gives thanks to God, members of St. Johns community for support

Tristyn Bailey file photo. (WJXT)

ST. JOHNS, Fla. – Following what family members of Tristyn Bailey called a “surprise change of plea” from the teenager charged in their loved one’s death, a statement released by their attorney on their behalf thanks the community for an outpouring of continued support, saying Monday is an “important milestone in the journey of justice for Tristyn.”

The guilty plea of first-degree murder entered by Aiden Fucci, 16, came just before jury selection was set to begin in the case. The statement says the change in plea has brought the family significant relief.

“I’m sorry for the Bailey family and my family,” Fucci said in court.

Bailey, 13, was found stabbed to death on Mother’s Day in 2021.

RELATED: Tristyn Bailey: The murder that sent shockwaves through St. Johns County | Aiden Fucci pleads guilty to first-degree murder in death of Tristyn Bailey

The family also gives thanks to God, the “tireless efforts” by R.J. Larizza’s team at the Seventh District State Attorney’s Office, and says it was blessed to have Jennifer Dunton as its lead prosecutor. It says the case was built off exception work of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office led by Sheriff Rob Hardwick.

“With the backing of our community, neighborhood, counselors, friends, and family, we have been able to endure the nearly two years since Tristyn was taken from us while managing to share her cheer: “We got this!’” the family writes.

Bailey’s loved ones, who affectionately refer to themselves as the “Bailey 7,″ notes that a sentencing phase lies ahead, writing, “This is obviously not over yet.”

“Make no mistake, the most important things to our family at this time are justice and Tristyn’s legacy,” the family writes.

Here is the statement in full: