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Judge delays trial for Aiden Fucci, teen accused of killing Tristyn Bailey, until 2023

Public Defender Rosemarie Peoples said she was trying to protect the trial process and ensure there would be “one clean trial,” untainted by bias.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Aiden Fucci, the teen accused of killing his 13-year-old classmate Tristyn Bailey was back in court Friday morning as his attorney argued – mostly unsuccessfully -- to limit evidence in, and restrict access to, his murder trial.

Public Defender Rosemarie Peoples said she was trying to protect the trial process and ensure that there would be “one clean trial,” untainted by bias or the risk of mistrial. Her motions included prohibiting emotional outbursts during trial and preventing witnesses from discussing the case among themselves.

Circuit Judge Lee Smith did grant People's request to push back his murder trial from November until February of 2023 in order for the defense to have enough time to prepare. Both Peoples and lead prosecutor Jennifer Dutton are involved in a double homicide death penalty trial in Putnam County this fall that will consume much of their time. 

The exact trial date has not been set. The judge said his intention was to begin jury selection one week before the trial. 

Fucci's team also withdrew two motions at the hearing: a request to exclude video cameras from during jury selection and a request to close pretrial proceedings to the public and the media. A coalition of media outlets filed a motion to intervene in the case to oppose any closures, but did not present argument after the motions were withdrawn.

Fucci is accused of killing his middle school classmate, Bailey, by stabbing her 114 times in May of 2021. He was 14 at the time but is being charged as an adult with first degree murder and faces life in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.

Over a dozen of Bailey's friends and family attended the court appearance, many wearing her favorite color, teal.

Bailey was 13-years-old at the time of her death. Her body was found on Mother's Day, hours after she was reported missing. 

In a statement released after court, the Bailey family said, "With this morning’s decision on the continuance, we now set our eyes towards a February trial. While we’re disappointed we have to continue to wait, our hearts go out to the loved ones of the Putnam county victims for their day in court. We take solace in this morning’s proceedings for the clarity that all parties involved are making efforts to ensure everything is done correctly during trial."

 

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