ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — To read more about the life of Tristyn Bailey, click here.
Testimony began Tuesday morning in the case of a St. Johns County teenager who murdered his middle school classmate.
Tristyn Bailey was 13 years old when she was stabbed to death on Mother's Day in 2021. Her confessed killer, Aiden Fucci, is now 16 years old and faces life behind bars. The minimum sentence he could receive is 40 years in prison with the possible review of his sentence after 25 years.
Fucci will learn his fate this week. The sentencing hearing is expected to last at least two days and the judge said he wants to issue his sentence Friday.
Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney Janet Johnson, who is not affiliated with the case, says she expects to hear Fucci's attorneys talk about how teenagers' brains are not fully developed since Fucci was 14 when he killed Bailey.
"That's something that I would be very shocked if that didn't come up in the sentencing," Johnson told First Coast News ahead of a status hearing before the sentencing.
Johnson also expects a longer apology from Fucci. Fucci apologized to his family and the Bailey family when he pleaded guilty.
"He'll probably get up at sentencing and say, he already did say 'I'm sorry,'" Johnson said. "So he certainly can say, elaborate on that."
Prosecutors plan on calling Fucci's former teachers to the stand, including one who says Fucci once threatened to throw a classmate out a window. Fucci's attorney fought to keep out testimony about Fucci's prior conduct. However, juvenile justice legal expert Shannon Schott, who is also not affiliated with the case, says the judge will permit what the court is legally allowed to consider in sentencing.
"Really the things they're trying to keep out are supposed to be considered by the court," Schott said. "Certainly I understand the concerns of the defense, but I think the court has to consider these things in his sentence."
Prosecutors also intend to call Bailey's family members to the stand to read victim impact statements. Newly released victim impact statements from Bailey's friends, family friends and neighbors paint pictures of the day they found out Bailey was murdered. Many state they think of her murder every day and ask the judge for the maximum sentence.
In a statement released over the weekend, the Bailey family, known as the Bailey 7, says they don't want the court proceedings to overshadow Bailey's legacy. They said she shared a special bond with each of her siblings, made her classmates feel included when they struggled to make friends and supported her cheer team as a base both literally in a cheer pyramid and emotionally.
"Tristyn made an incredible impact in 13 years and it is a travesty to not see what she would have done," part of the statement reads.
See new photos the Bailey family shared here.