ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — The St. Johns County teenager accused of stabbing a 13-year-old classmate to death faces first-degree murder charges and will be tried as an adult, according to a grand jury indictment released Thursday in St. Johns County Court.
The 7th Judicial Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza said a news conference is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Aiden Fucci, 14, is now charged with first degree murder in the death of Trisityn Bailey.
The decision to charge Fucci with first-degree murder came from a grand jury, which met in secret Thursday morning. First-degree murder charges automatically convey the case to adult court. Fucci will now face adult penalties if convicted, and even be housed in an adult jail, albeit in a section separate from the general population.
Tristyn Bailey was found stabbed to death May 9, Mother’s Day, following a daylong search after her parents reported her missing. Her body was discovered near a retention pond in a wooded area of her Durbin Creek subdivision. The Medical Examiner determined she died due to “sharp force trauma by stabbing.” St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick described it as “cold calculated … murder case,” adding, “this is not an accident.”
Bailey was a seventh grader at Patriot Oaks Academy in Saint Johns. Fucci was an eighth grader at the same school. According to an initial police report, surveillance video and interrogation led to Fucci’s arrest. "The defendant's story changed several times but [he] ultimately made several admissions," according to the report.
Before Fucci was charged, when it was still a missing person case, Fucci posted a Snapchat selfie in the back of a squad car. In the picture, he flashes a peace sign above the caption: "Hey guys, has inbody seen Tristyn lately."
The case generated a groundswell of interest, including a petition pressuring Larizza to charge Fucci as an adult signed by well over 700,000 people.