May 19, 2022

The 14-year-old boy, a Florida native, charged in the brutal death of a 13-year old cheerleader by stabbing her 114 times, will be tried as an adult, the authorities announced on Thursday. The suspect, Aiden Fucci, was charged with second-degree murder on May 10 but was upgraded to premeditated first-degree murder after strong evidence of showing intent to kill was ascertained. 

In a statement to reporters, State Attorney R.J. Larizza of Florida’s 7th Judicial District said that the Fucci had told “several” friends that he “intended to kill someone” before Bailey’s murder. Bailey was found dead with 114 stab wounds, and with a tip of the folding buck knife used by the suspect had broken off and was found embedded in her scalp. The crime scene has multiple signs of the brutal and violent nature of the attack.

“Horrific is an understatement,” Larizza told reporters at a news conference.

“He didn’t say who that was, but he indicated to witnesses that he was going to kill someone by taking them in the woods and stabbing them,” Larizza said. “The statements that the defendant made to his friends made it clear that he was considering a homicide. And I got to tell you this, it’s disturbing and concerning that those statements were not … taken seriously by the folks that heard them.” 

“It was a difficult decision to determine whether to charge the suspect as an adult. But the “level of violence” used in the attack and the way the juvenile system is designed proved “the adult system is where this case belongs,” Larizza told the reporters.

The victim, Tristyn Bailey, was found on May 9 in a wooded area in Durbin Crossing, about 20 miles south of Jacksonville, just hours after her family reported her missing. Fucci was arrested after surveillance video and DNA evidence were collected, according to prosecutors. 

Bailey and the suspect attended the same school, Patriot Oaks Academy, where Bailey was a cheerleader. Both also grew up in the same neighborhood. The motive in the case is unclear.