'Heinous, atrocious and cruel': Hear the judge's words in Aiden Fucci's sentencing

On Friday, March 24, Judge R. Lee Smith imposed a sentence of life in prison for Aiden Fucci, the 16-year-old St. Johns County student who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the Mother's Day 2021 stabbing death of his classmate, 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey.

After addressing the victim's family and other remarks, Smith handed down the sentence after describing Tristyn's murder and his analysis of the evidence with the following words:

The sentence:Aiden Fucci sentenced to life in prison for stabbing death of St. Johns teen Tristyn Bailey

Everything we know about the case:Aiden Fucci stabbed 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey 114 times.

Grief, despair, anger and anxiety:Tristyn Bailey's family describes never-ending torment Aiden Fucci has put them through

"114 stab wounds. 49 defensive wounds. 35 wounds to the head and neck. 29 to the back and shoulder. And six fatal wounds.

This court has reviewed and seen more than its fair share of autopsy photos. The autopsy photos in this particular case were particularly difficult.

The 49 defensive wounds indicate that Tristyn Bailey was conscious, that she was aware and that she was doing everything she could to fend off this attack.

She suffered a painful, horrifying death from someone that she trusted.

Her screams were most likely stifled by her own suffocating lungs.

He lured her into a secluded place in the woods near his home. A person that she trusted. And he led her there under false pretenses.

There was a heightened level of premeditation in this case.

Based on the prior statements that he made to his girlfriend and his friend, he indicated that he was going to kill someone. At which point he determined that it was going to be Tristyn Bailey, I don’t know. But there was going to be a victim.

He indicated how he was going to do it: that he would take them into a wooded place, that he would stab them, he would kill them and then he would run away so that he could keep on killing.

He told his best friend that he wanted to kill someone to see what it felt like and he wanted to watch them bleed out.

This particular crime was committed with the weapon of choice as a knife which he nicknamed “Poker.” That required an up close, personal, type of murder that is rare, is unique.

The court accepts that in 2019 of all juvenile arrests, that only seven percent were violent and only one percent of those were homicides. This crime is clearly an outlier and it was shocking and it is shocking to the conscious.

This court finds that the defendant’s participation in this offense was not the result of immaturity or impetuosity: he understood the risks and consequences of his actions. He previously told his girlfriend that he was going to do this. That clearly shows that he had been planning it.

He attempted to cover it up by disposing of the murder weapon and throwing it into a lake. He then attempted to conceal evidence by hiding his shoes and shirt and jeans, taking a shower, stealthily entering his home. And then the actions immediately after with the Snapchat videos in the back of the police car and the story that he made up about pushing her and her hitting her head which was clearly refuted by the video evidence in this case.

All of that shows and this court finds that this was not an immature or impetuous type of crime.

It makes it unique. It makes it extraordinary.

What is also very troubling is that this crime had no motive. This was not done out of greed, it was not done in retaliation, retribution, or revenge. It was not a crime of passion. It was not a crime that was committed because he felt rejected by her. It was not done in a fit of uncontrollable anger.

There was no reason. There was no purpose.

It was done for no other reason than to satisfy this defendant’s internal desire to feel what it was like to kill someone. It was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense for moral or legal justification.

And it was heinous, atrocious and cruel.

This factor and this factor alone makes this case and this defendant more than just unique. It is for this reason and all of the reasons previously stated that leads this court to the conclusion that there is only one appropriate sentence in this case.

Mr. Fucci, if you and your attorneys would please rise.

Counsel, it there any legal reason why this court cannot impose sentence at this time? (Answer: No, sir.)

Mr. Fucci, having entered a plea of guilty to the crime of first-degree murder I adjudicate you guilty of the premeditated first-degree murder of Tristyn Bailey. I sentence you to life in prison.

Because of your age, you are eligible for review of this sentence in 25 years. I order the Department of Corrections to notify you when you are eligible to apply for your review hearing.

Madam Clerk, if you will please impose the minimum fines and court costs.

Mr. Fucci, you have 30 days to appeal the legality of this court’s sentence. If you wish to appeal but cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

You will be taken back to the Duval County jail and then transported into the State of Florida prison system.

Aiden Fucci reaction to life in prison sentence

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Aiden Fucci sentencing: Judge describes Tristyn Bailey murder