“Aiden Fucci didn’t just take Tristyn’s life that day, he took everything from us,” said the sister of a 13-year-old cheerleader who was fatally stabbed 114 times nearly two years ago in Florida.
Tristyn Bailey’s family provided emotional accounts Wednesday during the sentencing hearing for Fucci, who has pleaded guilty to the stabbing. Fucci was 14 at the time of the crime.
Alexis Bailey, who was the first to take the stand, dropped 114 teal stones into a glass jar to represent each time Fucci stabbed her younger sister.
“I have nightmares about that moment. In my dreams, I try and reach out and grab her, beg her to spend the night, anything to prevent what happened just hours later. Yet, every time, the door closes before I can get to her,” Alexis Bailey said.
She said that on May 9, 2021, she became physically ill as detectives told the family Tristyn had been killed. “Our family broke that day, and I don’t recognize any of us anymore,” she said.
Alexis and another sister, Brittney Bailey Russell, said they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder since the slaying. Russell was on her honeymoon when she learned that her sister was missing.
“Agony isn’t painful enough. Shattered to the core doesn’t crumble like how I feel. Infuriated doesn’t even come close to touching the amount of rage I find myself trapped in,” she said. “And let me tell you, justice is just a word for comfort. It doesn’t bring her back.”
After each family member spoke, they dropped a white stone into the jar to represent what Fucci took from them.
Tristyn was found dead in woods outside Jacksonville. Fucci, who was 14 at the time of the crime, told authorities that he got into an argument with her and pushed her to the ground after they had left a friend’s house before dawn on May 9, 2021, according to a probable cause affidavit.
While he was still considered a witness, he snapped a selfie in the back of a police vehicle flashing a peace sign and posted the image on social media, writing in the caption: “Hey guys has inybody seen Tristyn lately.”
Other friends and family of Tristyn’s also spoke during the sentencing hearing. Her brother, Teegan Bailey, said he has “breakdowns” and feels like he “failed” his sister because he didn’t prevent her death.
Stacy Bailey, Tristyn’s mother, was tearful while speaking about her sleepless nights since Tristyn was killed.
“The sleep deprivation is taking a toll on me mentally and physically. I do not recognize the person looking at me in the mirror,” she said. “I feel like my life has spun out of control.”
In one of his letters, Tristyn’s father, Forrest Bailey, addressed Fucci.
“I loathe your very existence and know that there is nothing within you that reflects the smallest amount of goodness or human decency,” he said.
Fucci was arrested May 10, 2021, on a charge of second-degree murder. Days later, a grand jury indicted him on a first-degree murder charge, with State Attorney R.J. Larizza stating that the number of stab wounds supported the charge and showed the attack was premeditated.
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