Two years after a Florida cheerleader was murdered by her classmate, the killer’s mother received her own sentence Friday after entering a plea regarding her attempt to wash the victim’s blood out of her son’s jeans.
In 2021, then-14-year-old Aiden Fucci was arrested and charged with the murder of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey after stabbing her 114 times with a hunting knife in St. Johns County, Florida on Mother’s Day. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, and on Friday Fucci’s mother, 37-year-old Crystal Smith, learned her fate after she pled no contest to tampering with evidence.
Smith’s plea, entered three days before her own trial was set to begin, landed her with 30 days in jail and five years probation for evidence tampering, an act caught on surveillance footage that showed her picking up Fucci’s bloodied jeans before attempting to scrub them clean.
As had been reported, Smith had been present when deputies questioned her son about Bailey’s disappearance before voluntarily leaving with them. It was then that she could be seen collecting the jeans and washing them in a sink.
The mother had also been accused of urging her son to tell authorities he was wearing khakis the date of the incident and that she had whispered “blood” to him during his interrogation after he had seemingly given up the fact that he had been wearing jeans.
“What the defendant did was not protecting her child,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza said in a statement. “She was assisting him in avoiding responsibility for an extraordinarily vicious and merciless crime.”
The victim’s mother, Stacey Bailey, was afforded the opportunity to speak at Smith’s sentencing and, according to WTLV, told those present that her choices on that day, “will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
Details of the victim’s injuries revealed nearly 50 defensive wounds in addition to the more than 30 wounds to her head and neck, and nearly as many to her back and shoulder. As Circuit Judge R. Lee Smith had said at Fucci’s sentencing, “Tristyn Bailey was conscious, she was aware, and she was doing everything she could to fend off this attack. She suffered a painful, horrifying death from someone that she trusted. Her screams were most likely stifled by her own suffocating lungs.”
There had been no motive declared in the crime.
“I’ve tried to put myself in your shoes on that fateful day a thousand times, but I can’t,” Bailey’s mother said to Smith. “The irreparable damage that you have caused by your actions will forever be etched in to our lives.”
In another statement issued by the Baileys, the family said, “We hope for Tristyn’s classmates — that they will fully enjoy their milestones in the coming weeks. We hope for the parents of our community — that they help their children move forward with love, affection, and careful attention to their use of social media.”
“We hope — that through your smiles, Tristyn’s bright smile will shine forever. Finally, for those who sacrificed so much on that Mother’s Day two years ago, we especially hope that this Mother’s Day will be an incredible day of joy and happiness,” they added.
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