TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A northeast Florida teen accused of stabbing and killing a 13-year-old classmate will face a first-degree premeditated murder charge and will be tried as an adult, officials say.
During a press conference Thursday afternoon, 7th Judicial Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza announced the change in charges for 14-year-old Aiden Fucci in the death of Tristyn Bailey.
“This is my job to make these decisions along with the executive team and while we’re sad and we certainly don’t take no pleasure in it, this is our duty and we looked at the facts. We looked at the law, and I got to tell you, and the circumstances of his offense, there was no other alternative,” said Larizza. “The juvenile system is geared for kids maybe with drug issues or that commit non-violent crime… the adult system is where this case belongs.”
The St. John County Sheriff’s Office announced earlier this month that a medical examiner had determined that the cause of death for Bailey was “sharp force trauma by stabbing.” The manner of death was ruled a homicide.
Larizza confirmed during Thursday’s press conference Fucci stabbed Bailey 114 times with a folding Buck knife, which is commonly used for hunting.
In addition to stabbing the 13-year-old girl, an arrest report from the sheriff’s office stated Fucci admitted to “engaging in an argument with (Bailey) in which he forcefully pushed (her) to the ground, striking her head.” He did not admit to the stabbing, however, Larizza said.
Initially, Fucci was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection with his classmate’s death.
Bailey was reported missing by her family on Mother’s Day morning and was the subject of a statewide missing child alert. According to deputies, a resident who went out to help search for the girl found her body later that evening in the woods.
“It started out as just a few kids getting together and hanging out, but it didn’t end that way,” Larizza said.
Following the press conference, Bailey’s family released the following statement:
“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…
As we move forward, we will seek to keep Tristyn’s memory alive and the spirit of theThe Bailey 7