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40 years or life: Judge will make decision in Aiden Fucci case Friday

At 16, Fucci faces the possibility of life in prison. In closing, his attorney stressed his youth when asking for a 40-year sentence, while the State asked for life.

Tobie Nell Perkins

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Published: 8:32 PM EDT March 22, 2023
Updated: 10:35 PM EDT March 22, 2023

Aiden Fucci's sentencing will be streamed gavel-to-gavel on FirstCoastNews.com, the First Coast News app and on our YouTube page

To read more about who Tristyn Bailey was, click here.

After nearly two years, Aiden Fucci will learn his fate Friday.

After two days of testimony and emotional victim impact statements, prosecuting attorneys representing the state of Florida and Aiden Fucci's defense team delivered their closing arguments. Court will take a one-day recess and return on Friday morning.

Fucci pleaded guilty in February to stabbing his classmate Tristyn Bailey, 13, 114 times on Mother's Day 2021.

Fucci, who was 14 years old at the time, is now 16. He faces the possibility of life in prison. The minimum mandatory for the crime -- first-degree murder -- is 40 years. 

Fucci cannot receive the death penalty because he is a minor.

Regardless of what sentence the judge decides on, Fucci's case will be up for 25 years because he is a minor. 

State Prosecutor Jennifer Dunton asked that Fucci be given the maximum of life in prison, while his attorney, public defender Rosemarie Peoples, asked that that Judge R. Lee Smith give him 40 years.

Peoples said in her argument that Fucci will be punished, "and should be," but repeatedly stressed that he is "a child."

She submitted letters from Fucci, his mother, Crystal Smith, and his father, Jason Fucci, to the court before she began her statement. She said that the letter, written by Fucci in early March, contained an apology, "to the best of his ability." 

While she gave her opening statement, Peoples displayed pictures of Fucci as a young child -- seemingly healthy and happy.

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