ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — The 14-year-old St. Johns County boy accused of killing 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey appeared in court Thursday for an indigency hearing.
Investigators say Aiden Fucci stabbed Tristyn to death in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 9. Her body was found in a wooded area in the St. Johns County neighborhood Durbin Crossing after a frantic day-long search by law enforcement and members of the community.
Fucci was arrested and charged with second-degree murder the following day.
After the family's original attorney filed a motion to withdraw as Fucci's legal counsel, each of his parents submitted an application for indigency status, indicating they could not afford to hire a lawyer and were seeking a public defender.
Thursday, a judge approved the attorney's application to withdraw as counsel. The clerk's office had already declared Fucci's mother to be indigent.
But, his father, Jason Fucci's application was rejected by the clerk's office, which prompted Thursday's hearing.
Jason Fucci said he has no equity in his home, which was purchased less than two years ago. He also said that he is self-employed, and that his company has taken a downturn since his son's arrest.
The judge determined the initial reason for denying Jason Fucci's application was due to a clerical error. With the information corrected in Thursday's hearing, the judge approved the application.
The judge said a public defender will be appointed to represent Aiden Fucci. Josh Mosley will be the lead public defender in the case, with a team of attorneys working together to handle Aiden Fucci's defense.
"It's a privilege to represent young Mr. Fucci," one of the attorneys on his defense team told the judge in court Thursday.
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Tristyn was a 7th-grade student at Patriot Oaks Academy in St. Augustine. She lived in a quiet area of St. Johns County. She was a beloved member of the First Coast cheerleading community. She had already won awards and her coaches recognized her as a leader with a dedicated work ethic and lively personality.
Since his arrest, many people have called for Fucci to be charged as an adult and face first-degree murder charges. Florida law leaves it up to the state attorney's office to decide if children are tried as an adult under discretionary criteria. Murder does meet the criteria for him to be charged as an adult.