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Florida Teen Who Brutally Stabbed 13-Year-Old Cheerleader 114 Times Gets Life Sentence

Jacksonville, FL – A Florida teen who brutally murdered a 13-year-old cheerleader by stabbing her 114 times and leaving her to die in the woods on Mother’s Day of 2021 was sentenced to life in prison late last week.

Now 16-year-old Aiden Fucci was 14 years old when he ruthlessly murdered 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey on May 9, 2021, NBC News reported.

Fucci pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Feb. 6, just before jury selection was set to begin in his trial, according to WJXT.

Seventh Judicial Circuit Court Judge R. Lee Smith noted during the March 24 sentencing hearing that this case was particularly concerning because “this crime had no motive, WJXT reported.

“This was not done out of greed. It was not done in retaliation or retribution or revenge,” Smith said before pronouncing the sentence after a two-day hearing. “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,” the judge continued. “It was done for no other reason than to satisfy this defendant’s internal desire to feel what it was like to kill someone. This leads this court to the conclusion that there is only one appropriate sentence in this case.”

Fucci was not eligible for the death penalty because of his age, WJXT reported.

Smith sentenced him to life behind bars.

Because he was a juvenile when the crime was committed, Fucci’s sentence will be reviewed in 25 years, WJXT reported.

Fucci was booked into the Suwannee Correctional Institution in Red Oak shortly after the life sentence was imposed.

Tristyn Bailey’s father, Forest Bailey, released a statement on his family’s behalf after the hearing was over, NBC News reported.

“We are very appreciative of this outcome and felt that it is the right verdict, considering how heinous the crime is and Aiden’s behavior around it,” the grieving father said.

He asked for people to be considerate of the difficulty Fucci’s family is facing.

“Please extend them kindness. They should be given grace for the pain they’re going through,” the Bailey family said. “They should not be given additional hardship.”

Forest Bailey also had a message for his young daughter, NBC News reported.

“Tristyn, I wanted to let you know we are so extremely proud of the person that you were in your time here. We have seen that when you went out into the world, you gave it your very best,” he said. “You should be proud of the friend that you were, the teammate that you were, and what you left behind and the people that knew you that we trust will go forward and continue to make the world a better place.”

Security footage showed the cheerleader walking beside Fucci as they headed towards a wooded area of their neighborhood shortly after midnight on May 9, 2021, the New York Post reported.

Investigators said it is the last time Tristyn Bailey was seen alive.

According to police, security footage captured Fucci running away from the wooded area more than an hour later, the New York Post reported.

Tristyn Bailey was reported missing by her family later that day, and police found her body in the wooded area a short while later.

The teen had been stabbed 114 times, to include 49 defensive wounds to her head, arms, and hands.

The medical examiner located the broken point of a knife lodged in the dead teen’s skull, WTLV reported.

Someone had also drawn a smiley face on the inside of her right ankle, according to the New York Post.

The word “karma” had been written inside her left ankle.

Investigators found Fucci’s DNA on her body, the Independent reported.

Before he was formally named as a suspect, Fucci took a photo of himself in the back of a patrol car while flashing a peace sign, according to NBC News.

“Hey guys has anybody seen Tristyn lately,” he captioned the image before posting it to social media.

Police said when they questioned Fucci about Tristyn Bailey’s murder, he claimed he had gotten into a fight with her and that he shoved her to the ground, WTLV reported.

He told police Tristyn Bailey hit her head when she fell.

Investigators later recovered the suspected murder weapon from a retention pond near Fucci’s residence and seized bloody clothing from his home, WTLV reported.

Tristyn Bailey was killed with a hunting knife, according to People.

Fucci was initially charged with second-degree murder as a juvenile, but the case was bumped into adult court on May 27, 2021, when a grand jury indicted him for first-degree premeditated murder, WTLV reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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