JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The former state attorney of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, which includes St. Johns County, told News4JAX he thought the timing of Aiden Fucci’s guilty plea right before jury selection started was “unusual.”
Fucci, 16, pleaded guilty on Monday to first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 13-year-old schoolmate Tristyn Bailey. Fucci is now facing the possibility of life in prison with a minimum sentence of 40 years.
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“You normally don’t see it played out like that,” Steve Alexander, who was elected as state attorney in 1993 and now leads the Alexander Law Firm, said on The Morning Show. “Judges like to have pleas if there’s going to be a plea, done the week before the trial date so you don’t have to bring 200 or 300 jurors into court but anybody can plea as charged up until the moment the jury selection begins and that’s what Mr. Fucci and his defense team decided to do. But it was unusual.”
Alexander said, because Fucci pleaded guilty, he wouldn’t be surprised if his mother is now offered a plea deal.
Fucci’s mother, Crystal Lane Smith, is accused of tampering with evidence in the case because investigators said she was seen on video washing blood out of her son’s jeans.
“I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you see something in the future where the mother is offered either a probation plea of some sort, like plea and then get a three-year probation, or do even what we call a deferred prosecution,” Alexander said. “It probably wasn’t part of this deal, per se, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen. I don’t believe you’ll ever see Mr. Fucci testify against his mother. And I think at this point, justice prevailed.”
Alexander said when it comes to sentencing, which will happen in the coming months, there will be some consideration for the fact he has admitted guilt.
“He tried to show a little bit of remorse at the end of this plea the other day when he told the judge that he was sorry, to the Bailey family into his family,” he said. “What I think he’s trying to set himself up for is that at some point in time, either during the sentencing or in 25 years after the sentencing when he gets a life sentence, that it can be reconsidered, again for a resentencing after 25 years.”
Alexander said Fucci’s motivation for a guilty plea could have included that he doesn’t want his mother to get a state prison time and the fact that the evidence against him was “pretty overwhelming.”
“I think the murder case was going to be pretty much a slam dunk,” he said. “I think once he considered all the evidence, and his defense attorneys considered all the evidence, plea was the best way for him to go.”