Crystal Smith, the mother of a teenage suspect convicted of murdering his 13-year-old classmate, was sentenced to 30 days in jail and five years of probation after pleading no contest to charges of tampering evidence.
Smith had changed her plea from “not guilty” to “no contest” on Friday as part of a plea agreement, according to reporting from CNN.
She will be serving her 30 days jail sentence at the St. Johns County Jail before starting her probation, the outlet reported.
Aiden Fucci’s mother sentenced for tampering with evidence in cheerleader Tristyn Bailey’s murder https://t.co/tZo98G76Ls
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 13, 2023
Bailey’s corpse was discovered on May 9, 2021, in a “remote wooded area” by a pond near Durbin Crossing, according to a May 10, 2021, report from the newspaper.
Police had arrested Fucci that day after determining that he was a suspect behind Bailey’s disappearance and murder, according to reporting from WTLV-TV.
An arrest warrant issued against Smith by St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office noted that surveillance footage obtained from Smith’s home suggested that Smith could have tampered with evidence linking her son to Bailey’s murder.
According to the warrant, after police officers finished speaking with Fucci and had taken him with them on May 9, 2021, Smith had gone to her son’s bedroom, taken a pair of jeans he had been wearing, and began to wash them over the sink in the bathroom.
Should this mom have turned her son in instead?
Surveillance footage, the warrant noted, showed that at around 1 p.m., a witness had entered the home and was seen examining the pants with Smith.
According to the warrant, the inspections occurred multiple times until Smith took the pair of jeans back to Fucci’s room.
According to WTLV-TV, a video filmed in an interrogation room at the sheriff’s office showed Smith and Fucci’s father telling him to “find his story and stick with it.”
Smith also appeared to be advising Fucci to tell officers he was wearing khakis and not his allegedly bloodied pair of jeans on the night of the murder, the news station reported.
Smith was also heard whispering the word “blood” to her son to inform him that his pair of jeans were stained, according to WTLV-TV.
Police later approached the woman seen in the surveillance footage examining the pants with Smith, according to the warrant.
After speaking with her, officers found the damp jeans in Fucci’s room while carrying out a search warrant, the arrest warrant stated.
The jeans tested positive for the presence of blood, as did the drain of the bathroom sink, the warrant stated.
“What would I say to the woman who broke the law and caused so much pain to my family?” Bailey’s mother Stacy said in her victim impact statement at the Friday sentencing, according to WTLV-TV.
“Would my words be ignored or would they carry weight? Would you truly hear me and understand how your actions have devastated not only my family, [but] our kids, classmates, our family, friends, our community and the people across the world,” she added.
“I’ve tried to put myself in your shoes on that fateful day a thousand times, but I can’t. I can never get there. Because, you see, I could never put someone else’s child in harm’s way for my own, no matter the consequences. The choices that you make on Mother’s Day May 9, 2021 will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Stacy Bailey further stated.
“Ms. Smith hopes that everyone involved can now begin to heal from this tragedy,” Smith’s lawyer Matt Kachergus said, according to WTLV-TV.
“No one, with the exception of one person, knew what had happened to Tristyn. Certainly, Ms. Smith did not know what had occurred. She was a frantic mother trying to determine what was going on with her son. Only later, when she made aware of the horrible crime that had been committed,” he added.