Reported by NEWSSARAH TAYLOR | May 28, 2021
A 14-year-old will face murder charges and will be tried as an adult after he reportedly stabbed a 13-year-old girl 114 times in a horrific attack that took her life, NBC News reported on Thursday.
The attack was so vicious that a portion of the knife purportedly used in the attack broke off in the teen’s skull and stuck in her head. Nearly half of the wounds appeared to be defensive wounds, according to the report, and were found on the girl’s hands, arms, and head as she bravely tried to fight off her attacker.
Authorities discovered the body of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey — a cheerleader at Patriot Oaks Academy in St. Johns, Florida — on May 9 in a wooded area. The 14-year-old suspect — who remains unnamed at the time of this reporting — initially faced charges of second-degree murder. He now faces first-degree murder charges and will be tried as an adult, according to state attorney R.J. Larizza.
“It brings me no pleasure to be charging a 14-year-old as an adult with first-degree murder,” Larizza said during a Thursday news conference. “But I can tell you, also, the executive team and I reviewed all the facts, all the circumstances, the applicable law, and it was not a difficult decision to make that he should be charged as an adult. It’s a sad decision, and a sad state of affairs.”
Larizza added, “Every time that arm went back and every time that arm went down, that was premeditation.”
The suspect reportedly told friends that he “intended to kill someone,” Larizza said, and that DNA from Tristyn was found on the suspect’s clothing.
“He didn’t say who that was, but he indicated to witnesses that he was going to kill someone by taking them in the woods and stabbing them, which are certainly the facts of this case,” he added.
Authorities say that the suspect posed a selfie to social media on May 9 captioned, “Hey guys has inybody [sic] seen Tristyn lately[.]”
The report noted that the suspect took the photo “while Bailey was still missing and he was only considered a witness.”
A knife believed to belong to the suspect was discovered in a pond near Tristyn’s body, officials reported, and noted that the “tip of that blade was ‘broken off’ and ‘located by the medical examiner in the scalp of our victim.'”
In a statement, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Commander Howard “Skip” Cole said, “It’s difficult to hear all that. We fully support the grand jury indictment.”
An attorney for the teen suspect did not immediately respond for comment on Thursday evening, the outlet reported.
In a statement, the Bailey family said that the charges were an important “part of the initial steps to bring justice for Tristyn’s murder.”
“As we move forward, we will seek to keep Tristyn’s memory alive and the spirit of the community,” the family’s statement added.