Chilling new details have emerged about the fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old cheerleader who was found dead in a wooded area in Northeast Florida on Mother’s Day.
On Thursday, State Attorney for the 7th Circuit R.J. Larizza announced during a news conference that Tristyn Bailey was stabbed 114 times while fighting off her killer. He said at least 49 of the stab wounds were to her hands, arms and head and that they were “defensive in nature,” according to local media reports.
“We can’t say what happened at this pond but we know there was a struggle,” Larizza said at the news conference. “To say that it was horrific could arguably be made as an understatement.”
Charged in the case is 14-year-old Aiden Fucci, a schoolmate in St. Johns County. He has been in custody in a juvenile facility since his May 10 arrest on a charge of second-degree murder. Larizza announced Thursday that his charges would be upgraded to first-degree murder and that he would be charged as an adult. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted, according to The Associated Press.
“The bottom line is that premeditation could be inferred, certainly from just the sheer number of stab wounds that Tristyn Bailey had to suffer,” Larizza said. “Every time that arm went down, that was premeditation.”
He said a hunting knife was found in a pond not far from Bailey’s body. He also said that investigators learned Fucci had told several people he was going to kill someone by taking them to the woods and stabbing them.
Clothing with traces of blood was also found in Fucci’s home, which is less than a half-mile from the crime scene, according to WJXT, a TV station in Jacksonville. A GoFundMe page that was set up shortly after Bailey’s death has raised nearly $60,000, as of Friday afternoon.
Fucci made his first court appearance Friday morning on the first-degree murder charge and will be held without bond, according to WKMG. He will be transferred to an adult facility in Jacksonville but will be kept separately from the adult inmates.