Aiden Fucci’s mother will go to trial for tampering with evidence charge

Crystal Smith did not appear in court on Tuesday

Booking photo of Crystal Smith (St. Johns County Sheriff's Office)

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Aiden Fucci’s mother is set to go to trial for tampering charges in her son’s murder case.

Crystal Smith is charged with tampering with evidence in Fucci’s case where her son brutally killed his schoolmate Tristyn Bailey in May 2021.

Investigators said Smith washed blood off Fucci’s clothes while he was being questioned by police.

Smith didn’t appear at her final pre-trial hearing Tuesday. She hasn’t been in court since her first appearance and did not attend her son’s sentencing on advice from her lawyer.

Forrest Bailey, Tristyn’s father, mentioned Smith in an address on behalf of the family after Fucci was sentenced to life in prison.

“The fact that we are continuing to have to go through the legal process makes the apology questionable,” Forrest said. “You’ve seen the videos from the home. You’ve seen the videos from the interrogation room. I would say if she’s sorry, she can start by accepting responsibility.”

Belkis Plata is a defense attorney who said if she was defending Smith, she would have had her in court when necessary.

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The state will call the investigators in the case, show the interrogation room and home surveillance videos and bring in an analyst to testify.

Plata also said she doesn’t see Smith’s case going to trial because Fucci was who the court really went after.

She also explained how she would defend Smith if she was representing her.

“I would talk to the prosecution about the fact that this a mom trying to protect her son. A crime is a crime nonetheless, but I think I’m taking into account everything that was happening for them in that moment, and her lack of criminal history, that they might just put her on probation and giver her opportunity to reacclimate to society to try to right her wrong,” Plata said.

The maximum time for an evidence tampering charge is five years in prison.

Smith will go against the same prosecutors who tried her son’s case, who know the case very well. Plata believes Smith will enter into an agreement with them.

About the Authors:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad

Carianne Luter is a social media producer for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a communication degree.