Monday morning before jury selection was set to begin, Historic City News was notified by Seventh Circuit State Attorney R. J. Larizza that defendant Aiden Sean Fucci pled guilty as an adult charged in connection with the first-degree murder of his classmate, Tristyn Bailey.
According to Larizza, the defendant made an open plea to the court. No plea offer was extended by the Seventh Circuit State Attorney’s Office.
“Today was a major event in this case,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza said of the case. “We still have work to do, and we will be diligently preparing for the sentencing hearing to hold the defendant accountable for his actions. We will be seeking the maximum sentence available under law – a life sentence.”
Bailey, a 13-year-old cheerleader at Patriot Oaks Academy, was last seen alive in a surveillance video on May 9, 2021. She was walking with her classmate, Aiden Fucci who was then only 14 years old. When she did not return home, her family began a search that ended in the grisly discovery of the teenage girl. Tristyn was found dead with 114 stab wounds and a piece of the knife chipped off in her skull.
There is a status hearing scheduled for later this month, tentatively February 23 at 9:00 a.m. At that time, the Honorable Judge Lee Smith is expected to set a sentencing date. The defendant faces up to life in prison for the crime.
The case was investigated by the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant State Attorneys Jennifer Dunton and Mark Johnson are the prosecutors in the case and will handle the sentencing hearing.