The teenager accused of stabbing 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey multiple times in Florida faces a life sentence after prosecutors confirmed he was on trial as an adult.
Motions filed in Volusia County, Fla., In district court say Aiden Fucci, 14, will stand trial as an adult after being charged with the girl’s first degree murder.
The suspect will be spared the death penalty if convicted, as all offenders under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed are exempt from the penalty. The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that imposing the death penalty on minors was unconstitutional.
Bailey was reported missing by her family around 10 a.m. on Sunday May 9. His body was found the next day in a wooded area in St. Johns, Florida.
At a press conference Thursday, Seventh Circuit state prosecutor RJ Larizza revealed that an autopsy revealed Bailey had been stabbed 114 times, 49 of which the medical examiner found defensive in nature.
“There was definitely a fight. There were defensive wounds on this poor young woman and she was fighting for her life,” Larizza said.
Investigators also believe the stabbing could have been premeditated because Fucci told “several people that he intended to kill someone,” according to Larizza.
Larizza said: “He did not say who it was, but told witnesses that he was going to kill someone by taking him into the woods and stabbing him, which are certainly the facts. The sad reality is that it could have just been a case of the wrong place at the wrong time. “
Larizza added that prosecutors felt it was the “only choice” they could make. “There was no other alternative. The juvenile system is designed for children, perhaps with drug problems or who commit non-violent crimes,” said the public prosecutor.
“When you get kids to reach that level of violence, the time and the responsibility isn’t there and the programs – it’s just not there. The adult system is in place of this case.
Speaking to First Coast News, Christina Opsahl, a former 7th Judicial Circuit prosecutor, said the 14-year-old now faces a life sentence if convicted of murder while on trial adulthood. Opsahl added that any potential sentence would be reviewed after 25 years.
“I believe the amount of evidence presented by the public prosecutor shows quite clearly why they think the adult sanctions were appropriate and that a first degree murder charge was appropriate,” Opsahl said.
Juvenile affairs lawyer Shannon Schott said: “Two lives have been lost: the life of Tristyn Bailey and the life of Aiden Fucci.
“One question we get all the time is how do you stand up for someone who has done something huge or who is probably guilty,” Schott said. “And at the end of the day, as a criminal defense lawyer, it’s about my clients’ due process rights and ensuring that my client has all of their rights.”
Opsahl said it might be difficult to get a fair and impartial jury for the case because there is “great public outrage or a social media presence” surrounding him.