12:25 PM PDT, May 28, 2021
Not only was Florida cheerleader Tristyn Bailey stabbed 114 times, but her 14-year-old alleged assailant had reportedly told people “he was going to kill someone” shortly before, Florida State Attorney R.J. Larizza revealed.
The new allegations surrounding the 13-year-old’s murder were revealed in a Tuesday news conference, and in response, on Friday morning, Judge Howard M. Maltz upgraded charges against Aiden Fucci, who had been a schoolmate in the grade above her at the Patriot Oaks Academy.
The eighth grader, who is the sole suspect, is now being charged as an adult, and was transported to the Duval County jail Friday morning because the local St. Johns County’s jail does not have a juvenile wing, WJXT reported.
“It was not only appropriate to charge the defendant as an adult, but it was really the only choice that we can make,” Larizza said, according to WJXT. “It’s clear that he was considering a homicide.”
Larizza said that witnesses recalled Fucci having told them “he was going to kill someone by taking them in the woods and stabbing them, which are certainly the facts of this case.”
Tristyn’s body was later found with 114 stab wounds, with at least 49 of them sustained on her hands, arms and head, which prosecutors believed were “defensive in nature,” Larizza said.
The same knife that killed Tristyn had been found in the lake near where her body was discovered. Medical examiners knew it was the same knife because the tip of it had been broken off in her body.
Based on witness recounts and the report from the medical examiner office, Larizza said they determined there was “premeditation” to Fucci’s alleged crime.
Fucci had reportedly told investigators varying stories about what happened the night of her killing, according to a police report now available after his case moved from juvenile justice to adult court, WTLV reported.
Investigators say they ultimately learned that the pair had left a mutual friend’s house together before they got into an argument. “He forcefully pushed the victim to the ground striking her head,” the police report stated.
Bailey’s DNA was reportedly found on shoes belonging to Fucci that were found in his bedroom, prosecutors said.
Fucci was ordered to be held without bond in his first court appearance Friday and is expected to be arraigned on his upgraded murder charges within the week, WJXT reported. Fucci’s attorney has not responded to Inside Edition Digital’s request for comment.
“We greatly appreciate the tremendous community outpouring from all parts of the world,” the Bailey family said in a statement issued through the St. Johns County’s Sheriff’s Office following the decision to try Fucci as an adult, thanking law enforcement for their efforts. “Particularly for those in St. Johns that have helped from the Mother’s Day search, the vigils, remembrances and memorials. With the press conference sharing details of this heinous crime, the caring and love shown from the people and businesses to raise up the memory of Tristyn and the resolve of our community serve as a beacon of light in the darkness.”