JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A 14-year-old middle school student typically doesn’t have much of a public profile. But since his arrest for murdering his 13-year-old classmate Tristyn Bailey, the now-16-year-old Aiden Fucci has acquired a public record trail of troubling dimensions.
A portrait of the accused teen murderer can be culled from investigative reports, court documents and interviews with friends.
Ahead of the Monday start of his first-degree murder trial, here’s what we know.
His friends told deputies Fucci “talked about death and killing all the time,” and frequently drew pictures of mutilated bodies. But they didn’t believe he would actually kill. “You don’t really take stuff like that serious coming from a teenager,” his best friend said. “He said he wanted to slit someone throat, he said it'd be satisfying. He's talked about killing people talked about fighting people. I’ve have seen him practice stabbing motions with his knife. And I mean, you don't really take any of this stuff as in: He's gonna stab and kill somebody. Because he's just a kid. We’re all just kids.”
Since being incarcerated, reports from the Duval County Jail show he’s been in several fights, one in which he was pepper sprayed by corrections officers. Reports say he extorted other teen inmates for their commissary, threatening to stab them. One report says he threatened to kill the families of jail guards. In another, an inmate said Fucci boasted that he’d “stab a b**** face to face” rather than simply shoot to kill like the others there.
His girlfriend told deputies he spoke about killing someone with specificity. “He said that he would just walk at night or something and find like a random person walking to and just drag them in the woods and stab them. He said that he thinks it's gonna happen soon. He said I should expect it within the month."
One classmate said she knew Tristyn Bailey was going to hang out with Fucci the weekend of her murder. The girl said “Tristyn said she was going to hang out with Aiden on Friday, but did not want [the girl] to come because she had a bad feeling about it.” A different girl said Fucci reached out to her that Saturday night and asked her to join him. But her mother said no and when the girl told that to Fucci, she said, “Aiden started being mean to her and calling her derogatory names.” Investigators wrote that the girl said “that’ could be her, indicting Tristyn, and that she could be dead right now.”
Crystal Lane Smith is also charged in the crime after deputies say surveillance video shows her washing blood out of her son’s jeans. She has pleaded not guilty to evidence tampering. According to deputies’ reports, when she was with Fucci in the Sheriff’s Office interrogation room, she advised him to “find his story and stick with it.” Reports say she also “attempted to convince him” he was wearing khakis the night of the murder, rather than the allegedly bloody blue jeans. The report said Smith whispered the word “blood” to him as if to remind him the pants were not clean.
She told detectives, “He talked about wanting to kill me. Sometimes he would take his knife and pretend to stab me with it. Or sometimes he would come up behind me put it against my throat and pretend to slit my throat. But he didn't. I wasn't scared or anything.” The girlfriend told police Fucci had previously tried to cheat on her with Tristyn Bailey after the two got into a fight.
Fucci’s mental health
At an initial court hearing, Fucci appeared to be hearing voices. “Why am I here?” he asked, rocking and looking around the room, mumbling, “I won’t let you demons take my soul.” The incident prompted some speculation that he was faking. But both of Fucci’s friends told detectives he had mental health issues.
His girlfriend said, “Aiden told me that he had voices in his head that told him those things that told him that he was worthless and a disappointment. And I know that he struggled with self-harm sometimes. And he told me multiple times that he had hated himself and that he wanted to kill himself. He also told me that whenever he gets angry, that voice tells him to kill people. And he and he knew there was something wrong with him. I think he wanted to reach out for help.”
Fucci’s home life
Fucci’s best friend said he thought his violent obsessions were just a way to cope with his family. “His mom was always mean to him. His dad was always mean to him. He was always like in a bad mood.” His girlfriend said Fucci’s parents called him “a disappointment to the family” and compared him to his half-brother, whom she described as “a f*ckup.” “He felt neglected,” she told investigators. “He was the least favorite of the family. He told me that sometimes his dad would hit him.”
Fucci’s drug use
His best friend described Fucci as “a big pothead.” He said “all Aiden talked about was marijuana.” His girlfriend describes him getting high frequently and said he once beat up a kid to steal his vape pen. The night of the murder, his best friend said they planned to steal and smoke his dad's weed.
A classmate described him as always having “glassy” eyes describing them a having “no meaning” in them. He was “the textbook definition of what you would call a numb kid. He has no feelings toward anyone, no feelings towards himself.” She added, “He is the type of person you would see as a murderer. He just doesn’t care.”