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Crystal Smith, mother of Aiden Fucci, arrested, accused of tampering with evidence

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said Aiden Fucci's mother turned herself in Saturday afternoon. Her son in accused of killing Tristyn Bailey.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The mother of a teen accused of killing a 13-year-old St. Johns County girl turned herself in to authorities Saturday. St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said Crystal Smith, Aiden Fucci's mother, tampered with evidence, according to a statement from the sheriff's office. Smith was booked into jail shortly after 12 p.m. and released at 1:40 p.m. on a $25,000 bond. Fucci, 14, is accused of killing Tristyn Bailey.

Police said surveillance video in Fucci's home shows Smith going to her son's bedroom after he was taken to the sheriff's office, an arrest report states. Smith is seen in the video retrieving a pair of blue jeans, scrubbing them, and then returning the pants to the bedroom, the report states.

When officers returned to the home, they confiscated a pair of damp jeans from Fucci's bedroom, the report states. The jeans and a drain in a bathroom at the home tested positive for blood, the report states.

First Coast News spoke with criminal defense attorney Shannon Schott about the warrant and she believes there may be some constitutional rights violations made by investigators.

The arrest warrant says Smith can be seen on in-home surveillance scrubbing blood off Fucci's jeans.

Schott says there is no mention of how police were able to retrieve or know what was on the cameras.

"It's just a matter of how did this evidence get into the possession of the state of Florida and the sheriff's office and that will become an issue that is heavily litigated."

Another point, according to Schott, the warrant reveals more about the statements Fucci made and how those statements were legally obtained.

Once in custody, she says, Fucci should have been read his Miranda Rights prior to questioning. However, the warrant doesn't make it clear if those rights were given to Fucci.  

"The first question is whether or not he was in custody and if he was in custody, was he being asked questions. If those two factors exist, then he does have to be read his Miranda Rights. And, if he starts talking, those statements can only be used against him if there is a knowing or voluntary waiver of his rights," she explained.

According to police, Fucci stabbed Tristyn Bailey 114 times. The case was initially reported as a missing persons case, and Fucci was questioned in that investigation. Police say he told investigators he got into a fight with Tristyn and pushed her forcefully to the ground where she hit her head. Detectives later allegedly found blood on clothes at Fucci's Durbin Crossing home and his knife in a retention pond. 

Investigators say the medical examiner found the broken tip of the knife lodged in Tristyn's skull.

Fucci was initially charged as a juvenile with second-degree murder, but on May 27, a grand jury indicted him for first-degree premeditated murder, which automatically moved the case into adult court. That means he could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted. He is currently being held at the Duval County Jail, apart from the adult inmate population.

“I remain incredibly proud of the men and women of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office for their continued thoroughness in this investigation," Sheriff Hardwick said in a written statement Saturday. “Crystal Smith will be held responsible for her role in this case and justice will be served for Tristyn Bailey and her family.”

Credit: St. Johns County Sheriff's Office
Crystal Smith, mother of Aiden Fucci, is accused of tampering with evidence.
Credit: First Coast News
Aiden Fucci (left) made his first appearance before a juvenile court judge in the death of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey.
Credit: JSO
Aiden Fucci, 14, charged as a juvenile (L) and an adult (R)