Aiden Fucci, the 14-year-old boy charged with murdering 13-year-old cheerleader Tristyn Bailey, was held in custody on Tuesday morning for another three weeks while prosecutors decide whether to charge him as an adult.
On Sunday night, Fucci took a selfie in the back of a cop car. He posted it on Snapchat with the caption “Hey guys has anybody (sic) seen Tristyn lately” before her body was found in the woods.
Police say they will use that selfie as evidence against Fucci as it proves he is “proud of what he did.”
St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick said in an interview with local news outlet WOKV before Fucci’s first court appearance, “I know it looks egregious with him making those statements in that car, but that is now evidence that we gather and use against him. So that just makes our case a better case to present to the State Attorney’s office and to present to a jury down the road saying this was his mindset.”
“This is what he’s doing, was he’s proud of what he did. So, you know, this is going to help our case and make it stronger to, you know, his intentions,” he added.
On Tuesday, Fucci appeared via Zoom before Circuit Judge Michael Orfinger, who said there was probable cause to charge him in Tristyn’s death. He held him in custody and gave prosecutors until May 31 to decide whether or not to charge him as an adult.
The teenager appeared in a black jail sweatshirt. He looked relaxed throughout the hearing. At one point, he leaned back and put both of his hands behind his head.
His parents, Jason Fucci and Crystal Smith, were both on the Zoom call. They spoke briefly to confirm that they had hired their son a lawyer. Tristyn’s family did not speak during the hearing.
However, Tristyn’s cousin told The Sun that she hopes Aiden confesses to killing her. “I have cried my eyes out… I’m happy they made an arrest and hope they try him as an adult. Tristyn was a sweetheart, she loved cheerleading, I’m an emotional wreck, my husband and I didn’t sleep well last night,” Connie Stull said.
Tristyn’s body was found in the woods on Sunday night, less than 12 hours after her family reported her missing. It’s unclear exactly how she died but police say her body was found fully clothed and she was wearing a dark top and white cheer skirt.
She was last seen at 1:12 am on Sunday. She was reported missing at 10 am. She and Aiden were classmates at Patriot Oaks Academy.
“We have arrested a suspect by the name of Aiden Fucci, 14 year old. He is currently in custody charged with second degree murder. This is a long process, we’re in the very early stages of this. The suspect is in custody – there are no further threats to this case,” Sheriff Robert Hardwick said at a press conference on Monday morning.
Police have not shared any more information about the kids, including what they were doing on Saturday night before Tristyn disappeared.
In a statement on Monday afternoon, a spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office said, “As Sheriff Hardwick stated in his press conference today, our office will continue to investigate the case to determine both the appropriate charges going forward, and whether or not (Fucci) will be charged as an adult.”