Florida life sentence for 16-year-old

A Florida judge sentenced a 16-year-old boy to life in prison for fatally stabbing a 13-year-old classmate on Mother’s Day in 2021.

Aiden Fucci was 14 when he stabbed Tristyn Bailey at least 114 times in the woods near where the teens lived in north Florida, prosecutors said.

“This case is probably the most difficult and shocking case this county, St. Johns County, has ever faced,” Judge Lee R. Smith said before ordering Fucci’s life sentence.

Fucci, who pleaded guilty before his trial began in February, was ineligible for the death penalty due to his young age at the time of the crime. His case can be reviewed in 25 years, under Florida law. His lawyers had sought a 40-year sentence.

Before invoking the sentence, the judge spoke with Bailey’s family and noted the tremendous cost to them of the girl’s murder.

Tristyn Bailey, the victim (13). Photo: ABC News.

The judge’s order followed two days of testimony at a sentencing hearing. Bailey family members read statements in court about the emotional impact on the victims. Her older sister, Alexis Bailey, began her statement by dropping 114 aquamarine stone hearts into a jar, one for each stab wound her sister sustained.

Fucci’s grandmother, Deborah Spiwak, also attended that hearing and pleaded for leniency for her grandson.

“Please don’t take him out of our lives forever… I know there’s something good in Aiden,” she said.

The judge took note of his comment. “That took a lot of courage. It was not easy for her. But she showed this court that she had a good, stable home environment,” Smith said of Fucci’s upbringing.

Fucci and his parents wrote letters to the judge apologizing for their actions and asking for leniency.

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