ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — It is unclear at this point if Aiden Fucci will be tried as an adult for the murder of Tristyn Bailey.
Florida law leaves it up to the state attorney's office to decide if children are tried as an adult under discretionary criteria.
"The state attorney does have the discretion to refer a 14 or 15-year-old for a direct file to be tried as an adult under murder charges," said attorney Curtis Fallgatter, who is not involved in the case.
He says state statute 985.557 gives the state attorney's the power to charge Fucci as an adult because he is charged with murder, one of the crimes listed under the criteria.
Fallgatter explained why Fucci's current second-degree murder charge is the most severe he can face right now.
"Those particular crimes that carry serious penalties, life in prison, for example, death penalty, capital type cases, have to be returned by a grand jury," he said.
Fucci has not been indicted for first-degree murder.
Fallgatter said a teenager's mental health is typically evaluated and considered in cases like this. The judge has the discretion for sentencing, regardless of whether or not the child is tried and convicted as a minor.
"If juvenile sanctions are imposed, that would yield a much more lenient sentence than adult sanctions," Fallgatter said.
That includes the length of the sentence. He says if children are given juvenile sanctions, they could be kept in custody until their 21st birthday.
Aiden Fucci has a detention hearing Tuesday morning.