ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The mother of a teenager now serving a life sentence for killing 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey entered a plea of no contest Friday afternoon and was sentenced to 30 days in St. Johns County jail and five years of probation after being accused of crimes related to her son’s case.
Crystal Smith, the mother of Aiden Fucci, stood accused of tampering with evidence in connection with the murder, a felony.
Smith, 38, was adjudicated guilty by Judge R. Lee Smith who accepted her plea, part of a deal struck between prosecutors and Smith’s defense attorneys.
According to Smith’s arrest warrant, surveillance video shows her washing Fucci’s blue jeans hours after he murdered Bailey. Smith is next seen taking the jeans to her master bedroom for a while and then bringing them out and inspecting the pants several times before putting them back in her son’s room. The warrant said the jeans and the drain in the sink later tested positive for blood.
Tampering with evidence charges carries a maximum sentence of up to five years. Jury selection was set to begin in Smith’s trial on Monday.
Smith did not speak as the sentence was handed down, other than answering several questions from the judge, but her attorney Matt Kachergus read a statement on her behalf.
“No one with the exception of one person knew what had happened to Tristyn. Certainly, Ms. Smith did not know what had occurred. She was a frantic mother trying to determine what was going on with her son. Only later was she made aware of the horrible crime that had been committed. She apologizes for any additional suffering her conduct caused the Bailey family. I hope the end of these legal proceedings surrounding Tristyn’s death will allow everyone impacted by it to begin to find a modicum of peace and begin to try to heal from this tragedy,” Kachergus said in a statement.
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A Bailey family spokesperson told News4JAX on Thursday the family was in contact with prosecutors and involved in the negotiated plea.
Members of the Bailey family were in the courtroom Friday and Tristyn’s mother Stacy Bailey read a statement on the stand.
“What I cannot understand is how you knew our child was missing, your son was the last known person to see her, yet you saw something suspicious on his jeans and tried to wash it out,” Stacy Bailey said. “The choices you made will haunt me for the rest of my life. I question if you grieve the devastating murder by your son of our daughter, or if you just grieved that he got caught...I do have hope from the words of your mother that you are a good person that you can take this time to get back on track.”
The family has said they had hoped a plea deal would be reached to help the family take its next step forward in focusing on the life and legacy of Tristyn, including her memorial foundation.
Smith, who was taken from the courtroom directly to jail, will be eligible to end her probation after three years if there are no violations. She will also be given credit for one day served.