The Florida teenager accused of murdering 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey will be tried as an adult, state prosecutors announced Thursday.
The suspect, 14-year-old Aiden Fucci, was initially arrested May 10 on suspicion of second-degree murder; however, prosecutors upped the charge to first-degree murder after reviewing evidence of the brutal attack.
“It brings me no pleasure to be charging a 14-year-old as an adult with first-degree murder,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza announced. “But I can tell you also the executive team and I reviewed all the facts, all the circumstances, the applicable law and it was not a difficult decision to make, that he should be charged as an adult. It’s a sad decision and a sad state of affairs.”
According to NBC News, an investigation determined Tristyn was stabbed 114 times as she tried to fight off her attacker. Authorities reportedly found at least 49 defensive wounds on the girl’s hands, arms, and head. A knife that is believed to have been used by the suspect was found in a pond near Tristyn’s body; Larizza said the medical examiner found the tip of the blade in the victim’s skull.
“To say that it was horrific could arguably be made as an understatement,” Larizza added. “Bottom line, premeditation can be inferred certainly from just the sheer number of stab wounds that Tristyn Bailey had to suffer.”
Tristyn, a cheerleader at Patriot Oaks Academy, was reported missing on the morning of May 9. Her body was discovered about eight hours later in a wooded area of St. Johns, Florida. Home surveillance footage showed Tristyn and Aiden walking together outside at around 1 a.m. on the day of her disappearance. Another video captured the suspect walking alone at 3:30 a.m. carrying a pair of white Nike shoes.
After reviewing the footage, officers tracked the suspect down and brought him in for questioning. The teen reportedly posted a selfie from the backseat of a cop car with the caption: “Hey guys has inybody seen Tristyn lately.”
According to an arrest warrant, the suspect had told friends “he wanted to kill someone by stabbing them or slitting throat.” Witnesses told investigators the boy, who was Tristyn’s schoolmate, said he initially planned to find a random person walking at night, force them into the woods and stab them. His statements were not reported.
The suspect, who is now facing a life sentence, is expected to appear in court Friday.