JACKSONVILLE, Florida – The defense for Aiden Fucci has filed several motions before his sentencing next week.
Fucci pleaded guilty in February to killing schoolmate Tristyn Bailey in St. Johns County.
Curtis Fallgatter, a criminal defense attorney not related to the case, said it’s not unusual for a defense attorney to enter pretrial motions because they want to make sure their client can get the best possible sentence at the hearing, potentially ruling out a life sentence .
Fucci’s defense attorney filed a motion asking the judge to bar Dr. Gregory Prichard, who is a psychologist, from testifying at the hearing.
The motion says Prichard admitted in his deposition that he could not make a diagnosis of Fucci without a personal evaluation. The defense says any opinion Prichard makes will be “rooted in a review of discovery material, not any mental health testing or diagnostics,” making him “unduly prejudicial.”
Fallgatter said the reason attorneys filed to block Prichard from speaking is that when they deposed him, he was likely to mention something that could be damaging to their case.
Fucci’s attorney also reminded the judge that she has chosen not to present any testimony from a mental health professional, and if Prichard is allowed to testify, she will be forced to present psychologist Stephen Bloomfield as rebuttal to Prichard’s opinion.
A new motion was filed asking the judge to bar the state from calling witnesses who would testify about Fucci’s behavior while in the Duval County jail. In January, jail records News4JAX obtained from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office showed Fucci was involved in several disturbances while incarcerated at the jail.
Fallgater said the judge might likely agree to the motions because it would help keep the case clean.
“If the judge were to allow evidence that would be improper and reversible, and an appellate court would say, ‘You shouldn’t have done that. You must redo the sentencing.’ You don’t want that as a judge; you want a clean sentencing,” he said.
Five letters have also been sent to the judge ahead of the hearing, including a letter from a friend of Tristyn’s grandmother, who said Fucci should never get out of prison.
News4JAX reached out to the attorney for the Bailey family. Matthew H. Hinson said they do not expect to have a comment until the conclusion of sentencing.
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