THE heartbroken father of murdered cheerleader Tristyn Bailey could be seen watching on as the mother of his daughter’s killer intends to make a plea deal in an evidence tampering court case.
Forrest Bailey could be seen walking into a Florida court hearing on Friday for Crystal Smith, the mother of convicted murderer Aiden Fucci, 16.
Smith intends to enter a guilty plea after she was accused of washing the blood-stained pants of her son.
Fucci stabbed his classmate and cheerleader, Bailey, 13, over 100 times on May 9, 2021, near a retention pond in Jacksonville.
The teen later confessed to the murder in court and received a sentence of life in prison on March 24, 2023.
Smith, 35, was arrested on June 5, 2022, for allegedly “tampering with evidence,” the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.
Surveillance footage from inside the mother’s home showed her scrubbing a pair of her son’s pants, which later tested positive for traces of blood, along with the drain in the sink, police said.
Although it has yet to be revealed what kind of plea deal may be made with the prosecution, evidence tampering is a third-degree felony, meaning Smith could face up to five years in jail.
Relatives of Bailey were also informed of Smith’s intent to plead guilty beforehand and were involved in the forgoing of a trial, USA Today reported.
“The family is aware of the plan for her to plea (Friday) and they were involved in the negotiations alongside assistant state attorney Jenny Dunton,” a statement from the Bailey relatives read, per the publication.
“They are appreciative of the hard work of the St. Johns’ County Sheriff’s Department and the 7th Circuit State Attorney’s Office!”
The statement continued: “The Tristyn Bailey Foundation looks forward to making a major announcement regarding the foundation’s hard work toward victim advocacy and continuing to share Tristyn’s legacy with the world.”
On Tuesday, Smith and her attorneys attended a motion hearing where the prosecution argued that her defense team should be barred from telling the jury that she would “have needed to destroy or damage evidence to be convicted,” local NBC affiliate WTLV reported.
The judge did not issue a ruling on the prosecution’s motion, which left the Bailey family disappointed, per Court TV.
They said in a statement that the day in court had been “antagonizing, to say the least, and anger ridden as [Smith] has continuously failed to take responsibility.”
“We were hoping that a plea deal would be reached,” the family said.
“This obviously would be a benefit to our family so that we can take our next step forward in focusing on the life and legacy of Tristyn.”
Now, it seems that the situation has changed and that a deal may have ultimately been reached.
Fucci had maintained his innocence for years in the case of Bailey’s murder, but the 16-year-old killer reversed his not-guilty plea on the first day of jury selection on February 6.
He also apologized in court.
“I’m sorry for the Bailey family and my family,” he said.
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