Tristyn Bailey’s family reacts to killer’s sentence, offers warning for other families
Share this

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – “Tristyn, I wanted to let you know we are so extremely proud of the person that you were in your time here.” Forrest Bailey read these words as part of a message to his late daughter after the family witnessed the 13-year-old’s killer being sentenced to life in prison.

Bursts of emotions from Tristyn Bailey’s family filled the courtroom Friday when Aiden Fucci, 16, was sentenced for brutally killing the Tristyn on Mother’s Day in 2021.

“We are very appreciative of this outcome and feel that it is the right verdict, considering how heinous the crime is and Aiden’s behavior around it,” Forrest Bailey said.

Tristyn’s father stood at a podium in a white sweatshirt that read “THAT’S MY SQUAD. Tristyn Bailey Strong” with a teal ribbon near his heart while he read a statement on behalf of the family Friday morning.

Tristyn Bailey’s loved ones wore matching shirts in court on Friday. (WJXT)

Behind him stood members of the Seventh Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, his wife, Stacy, and others who surrounded him with support.

He opened his address by thanking those who had a part in the case for their time and effort. He thanked the community for their continuous support and God for providing the strength the family needed to get through the ordeal of the sentencing. He also expressed other issues that they had to endure during the past 22 months of court proceedings.

RELATED: Judge to Tristyn Bailey’s family: Killer’s sentence ‘cannot heal you’

“Today is about focusing on the people who helped deliver justice for our community,” Tristyn’s father said. “And I want to keep the focus on that.”

Family has harsh words for Tristyn Bailey’s killer

Fucci, who was 14 at the time of the crime, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, admitting to brutally stabbing Tristyn more than 100 times in the woods at the end of a cul-de-sac in the quiet Durbin Crossing neighborhood.

RELATED: Tristyn Bailey: The murder that sent shockwaves through St. Johns County

“As has come out through the proceedings, Aiden Fucci did not even have Tristyn’s contact information until the evening before he killed her. While we have gotten to a point where children are carrying technology for convenience and safety to contact their parents and their friend when needed, it comes at great risk,” Forrest said, cautioning other families. “It likely would not have made a difference in Tristyn’s case. However, we would be sick to have it happen to any other family.”

Forrest also shared a warning for parents and their children.

“Please, to all the kids, if your parents require you to turn in your cellphones, realize your phone is a privilege, not a right. They are demonstrating love and protection for you,” he urged.

UNCUT: Watch the full post-sentencing news conference below

While he acknowledged Fucci’s grandmother’s testimony when she offered a tearful apology to the Bailey family, saying it “really touched us,” Forrest also addressed Fucci’s apology letter to his family.

“With respect to the apology letter from Aiden, from his behavior at court at no point has his actions fell in line with the letter, and I believe it is due to the coaching from the defense with respect to the legal process that takes time,” he said.

He called the defense’s comment about the family not accepting Fucci’s apology “insensitive.” He even talked about how the defense sent a survey to the community — including to his wife — asking for opinions on the murder.

“At no point did they have the common decency to give an apology so I think they should reconsider their high ground before they advise anyone else on apologies,” he said.

Tristyn Bailey’s parents share an emotional moment before court on Friday. (WJXT)

His message to Fucci’s family was pointed: “I would remind them that he is still here. They can still see him. They can encourage him to change his behavior.”

He requested that Tristyn’s supporters offer Fucci’s extended family “kindness,” saying that treating them “poorly” doesn’t align with Tristyn’s spirit or memory.

“They should be given grace for the pain they are going through. They should not be given additional hardship,” he said.

RELATED: ‘He is beyond saving’: Tristyn Bailey’s family asks for maximum sentence for killer in emotional hearing | Closing arguments made in Aiden Fucci’s trial; judge to determine whether he gets life | ‘I’m sorry for all the pain I caused’: Aiden Fucci, relatives write letters to judge, Tristyn Bailey’s family | After 2 days of grim, emotional testimony, what’s next in Aiden Fucci sentencing? | Aiden Fucci’s case draws memories of high profile 1998 murder trial that shook Jacksonville community

Tristyn’s father closed by sharing a message to his late daughter:

“We have seen that when you went out into the world you gave it your very best. You should be proud of the friend that you were, the teammate that you were and what you left behind. And the people that knew you that we trust will go forward and continue to make the world a better place. With respect to what you mean to our family, it’s in our hearts. There are no words. We love you. We will continue to hold you in our hearts, and we will always be the Bailey 7.”

He also said the family plans to share more about how they are going to celebrate Tristyn’s life to create a lasting legacy.

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

Share this
You May Also Like

'This too shall pass:' Jacksonville family experiences repeated loss, with house fire being the latest tragedy

This isn’t the first time Jean Brown has had to face adversity.…

Pat Robertson united evangelical Christians and pushed them into conservative politics

NORFOLK, Va. – Pat Robertson united tens of millions of evangelical Christians…

Treasure Island Causeway Bridge to Close Overnight For Repairs

TFP File Photo TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. – Drivers who use the Treasure…

That first cup of tea, a stranger’s smile, fresh sheets… these are a few of our favourite things 

Clean sheets, tea, when a loved-one rings… these are a few of…

Legal Battle Continues Over Sanity Of Florida Death Row Inmate Scheduled For Execution

Duane Owen (File Photo) With the scheduled execution a week away, a…

Prince William beams with pride as he opens £70m cancer centre – after launching appeal in 2015

Prince William appeared in high spirits this morning as he opened a…

Here are the other investigations Trump has to worry about – NewsNation

Donald Trump’s legal problems appear to have escalated significantly on Thursday with…

Darren Moore gives Barry Bannan verdict as Sheffield Wednesday prepare for Championship task

Sheffield Wednesday are back in the Championship and skipper Barry Bannan will…

U.K. Judge Denies Julian Assange’s Appeal to Block U.S. Extradition

A High Court judge in the United Kingdom has reportedly denied an…

‘I’ll Die After Bingo’: Expectation Forging TV Adaptation Of Pope Lonergan’s Memoir About Caring For The Elderly

Clarkson’s Farm producer Expectation is adapting comedian Pope Lonergan’s memoir about a…

GM’s electric vehicles will gain access to Tesla’s vast charging network

FILE – Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra speaks during the opening of…

‘Wednesday’ Actor Percy Hynes White Issues Response To Social Media Posts Accusing Him Of Sex Assaults

Percy Hynes White, who played Xavier Thorpe on Season 1 of Netflix…