Is the teenager who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the deadly stabbing of his classmate “beyond saving?”
A St. Johns County judge may be weighing those words, spoken Wednesday in court by the mother of Tristyn Bailey. The state and the defense have now both made their case in Aiden Fucci’s sentencing hearing.
The 13-year-old’s family members vented their grief and anger on the stand in gut-wrenching witness impact statements.
“You, Aiden Fucci, decided to overpower a five-foot-three innocent 13-year-old girl. How much more of a coward could you possibly be?” said Brittney Bailey Russell, Tristyn Bailey’s sister.
”What were her last words? Did you stay to watch her die? Or did you leave her there in agonizing pain as you ran away? How long did she suffer?“ said Tristyn Bailey’s sister Alexis.
They even said it with stones dropped into an empty jar on the stand. It took two minutes for Alexis Bailey to drop in 114 stones — marking the number of times authorities say the teenager was stabbed to death in May 2021.
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While the Bailey family addressed the court in person and on the stand, Fucci made his plea on paper. News4JAX obtained letters that were written by Fucci’s family members, including his mother.
In his letter addressed to the judge, Fucci writes:
“First off I want to say that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all the pain I caused to the Bailey family. I(’m) sorry to the friends, brothers, sisters, mom, dad and any other family relatives. I’m sorry that you didn’t get to know her that long. You did not have any long relationships with (Tristyn) and for that I’m sorry.”
The letter sends apologies to the local community, his father and his mother.
“...I know my (apology) will not fix anything or bring her back but I hope it help(s) in some way.”
Fucci’s father Jason writes, “There are no words to right this wrong. Those words don’t exist in this situation.”
Fucci’s mother Crystal Smith writes to the Bailey family — and to the judge: “I grieve for the devastating loss of Tristyn, I grieve for the subsequent arrest of my son, and I grieve for the irreparable agony inflicted on the Bailey family… Most of all, however, I grieve for Stacy Bailey as a mother.”
Fucci, 16, could spend the rest of his life in prison. As a juvenile, he is not eligible for the death penalty, and his sentencing hearing does not involve a jury.
The court is in recess until Friday morning - when Fucci is expected to receive his sentence.