ST. JOHNS, Fla. (AP) — A 14-year-old boy is being charged as an adult in the fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old cheerleader whose body was found in the northeast Florida woods earlier this month.
The State Attorney’s Office in St. Johns County filed a notice Thursday to transfer Aiden Fucci’s case from juvenile to adult court after a grand jury indicted him on a first-degree murder charge, according to court records. He faces a possible life sentence.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza said during a news conference that charging Fucci as an adult wasn’t only appropriate but the only choice his office could make. An autopsy discovered at least 114 stab wounds on Tristyn Bailey.
“Every time that arm went back and every time that arm went down, that was premeditation,” Larizza said.
Investigators said that Fucci had also told several friends that he planned to kill someone, though it wasn’t clear whether Bailey was his intended target from the beginning, Larizza said.
Bailey was last seen early May 9 at the community center in the Durbin Crossing community south of Jacksonville. Bailey and Fucci attended nearby Patriot Oaks Academy, where Bailey was a cheerleader.
Bailey’s parents reported her missing later that morning, and a neighbor found her body in a heavily wooded area that evening, the St. Johns County Sheriff Office said. Fucci was arrested the next day on a second-degree murder charge.
According to an arrest report, video surveillance from the community center showed the girl walking with Fucci shortly after 1 a.m. May 9. Another video from a nearby home showed the pair walking along a road about 1:45 a.m. The same video showed only Fucci walking in the areas at 3:27 a.m., the report said.
The videos led the detectives to talk to Fucci. The girl’s body was found close to the boy’s home, the report said. Detectives reported finding evidence related to the clothing seen in the surveillance videos in the boy’s bedroom. And some of the items had a presumptive positive result for the presence of blood, the report said. A dive team found a knife in a nearby pond that investigators believe was the murder weapon.