[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Well, this case is getting more disturbing — honestly whether you believe what the suspect is saying or not.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the investigation, it began with the gruesome murder of a 13-year-old girl in St. Johns County, Florida named Tristyn Bailey. The cheerleader was stabbed a shocking 114 times and left in the woods.
What made the case even more disturbing was that shortly afterward an arrest was made — a 14-year-old classmate. Before his initial questioning, Aiden Fucci posted a video to Snapchat from the back of the police car, seemingly taunting investigators and/or bragging to classmates about it, writing:
“Hey guys has inybody [sic] seen Tristyn lately?”
A lot more evidence was collected over the next few days, including security camera footage of the teens walking together toward the eventual crime scene — and Fucci running back the other direction, alone, shortly after.
He’s been charged with first-degree murder.
OK, that’s the background. Now we’re on track for a murder trial that’s already getting off to a very controversial start.
During a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday, Fucci turned up — in his orange jumpsuit, on a video feed from the Duval County Jail — and seemed confused and frightened.
No, not from the district attorney.
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Fucci did not even acknowledge the other participants in the video call. Instead he looked around at spots in the air around himself in the otherwise empty room. He muttered:
“Please don’t let the demons take my soul. The demons are going to take my soul away.”
The teen then kept rocking back and forth, acting as if he had no idea how he had gotten there, asking:
“What’s going on?”
He then pleaded:
“Why am I here? I just want to talk to my mom and dad. What’s going on? What’s going on?””
You can watch the moments for yourself via news coverage (below):
So what’s really going on here?
Many will likely wonder if he’s really touched by some kind of dark forces. Investigators did note some of the violent drawings found in his notebook after his arrest had a “Satanic element to them.” And a friend told police that he had told her before the crime about voices telling him to kill.
Do YOU buy the possibility??
We can see how it would help some folks to have demons to blame the murder on, to believe a 14-year-old boy wasn’t really capable of that without some kind of demonic possession. However, more might assume he’s having some kind of psychotic episode.
And then of course there’s the possibility he’s faking. Either playing a game with the lawyers, like he seemingly did in the back of that cop car, or trying to lay the groundwork for some kind of insanity plea deal.
For their part, the lawyers ignored the antics, simply going about their business and setting a date for the next hearing: October 28, just in time for Halloween.
But News4Jax dove in a little deeper, inviting an impartial expert, a forensic psychologist with no involvement in the case, to weigh in. Dr. Justin D’Arienzo assessed the footage and said:
“He definitely looked disoriented and confused. It’s hard to tell if he’s feigning mental illness or if something is really happening with him. From my perspective, it seemed genuine, given the pattern of behavior today and from what else we know.”
Thus far the judge has not ordered a competency evaluation for Fucci, and investigators did not bring up mental health. It will be interesting to see if this plays a part in the defense.
What do YOU think? Is Fucci faking? Is he really seeing something else in that footage?? It’s certainly creeping us out, but then again we wouldn’t need something other than an alleged killer teen in the room to do that.
[Image via Duval County Jail/News4Jax/YouTube.]