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Tucker Robert CIPRIANO





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Killed his father and critically injured his mother and brother for drugs money
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: April 16, 2012
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: April 5, 1993
Victim profile: His father, Robert Cipriano, 52
Method of murder: Beating with a baseball bat
Location: Farmington Hills, Oakland County, Michigan, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on July 24, 2013

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Michigan teen pleads guilty to dad's murder after family pressure

The family of Tucker Cipriano did everything they could to get their son some help. But unfortunately his addiction would take a deadly turn.

April 28, 2016

From the outside, the Cipriano family lived a near-perfect life in a nearly perfect home in Farmington Hills, a wealthy community just outside of Detroit, Michigan.

Bob Cipriano, 52, was a beloved public school administrator. His wife Rose, 51, an avid swimmer and equally loved fitness instructor. By all accounts they are devoted parents who raised four sweet kids with strong values.

Theirs was a quaint, uneventful life until early on the morning of April 16, 2012, when evil rained down and completely shattered their near-perfect world.

Two intruders broke in and brutally beat Bob Cipriano with a baseball bat. Then they turn their rage on Rose. The Ciprianos' son Salvatore races in and is the next to fall.

Their little girl Isabella trembles with the horror playing out in front of her as her big brother Tanner hides in a closet and dials 911.

When police arrive, Rose and Salvatore are barely still alive. Tragically, Bob is bludgeoned so badly he drowned in a pool of his own blood.

Police say the motive for this heinous attack is robbery, and the assailants weren't planning to leave any witnesses behind.

The suspects? Every bit as shocking as the crime itself.

Within hours after the beatings, police arrest the Cipriano's oldest son, 19-year-old Tucker, and his friend, 20-year-old Mitchell Young.

In video arraignments, a tearful Mitchell Young and a calm, collected Tucker Cipriano both plead not guilty, each blaming the other for beating the Cipriano family.

Crime Watch Daily Detroit affiliate WXYZ reports Tucker is accused of killing his own father.

"Tucker attacks Mr. Cipriano with a baseball bat, and starts beating him with it. And Mr. Young says to Mr. Cipriano, 'What are you doing, what are you doing?'" said Assistant Prosecutor John Skrzynski.

But Tucker says it's the other way around, claiming Mitchell Young, who goes by his middle name, Roderick, is the one who savagely beat his parents.

"He stated he held him from behind and Roderick was hitting him in the head with a baseball bat," said Farmington Hills Detective Jason McDonald. "His words were 'a lot.'"

Tucker was adopted when he was just four days old and reportedly always struggled to fit in. He admits attacking his younger brother, Salvatore, but says he tried to get his 8-year-old sister out of harm's way.

"He was pleading with her to stay in her room because he didn't want anything bad happening to his sister," said McDonald. "She was stating, 'I thought you loved me. I thought you loved me.' And his response to that was he was telling her that he did love her, and to please stay in the room."

Tucker tells cops Isabella was literally saved by the bell.

"Roderick had his sister Isabella and the doorbell rang, she ran to the door, breaking away from Roderick, and it was the police, and at that point is when he said he ran out the back," said McDonald.

Both assailants reportedly copped to robbery, but neither one would confess to beating Tucker's parents.

"It was decided that Tucker was going to go after his two brothers and Roderick was going to go after the mom and the dad," said Tucker's friend Ian Zinderman.

Zinderman testified in exchange for immunity. He claims the whole attack was planned out after the three of them got high on "K2" synthetic marijuana. But Zinderman pulled out of the murderous plot.

"Roderick was supposed to go for the sister, from what I understand," said Zinderman.

"I did not go to the Cipriano household intending to hurt anyone," said Mitchell Young. "I didn't go there intending to hurt anyone, let alone to kill someone."

For weeks leading up to the trial, Bob Cipriano's brother Greg was desperate to keep the Cipriano family from having to relive their nightmare in court. He went to see Tucker in jail, hoping to convince him to man up, accept his fate, and plead guilty to first-degree murder.

"I don't see the point in doing life behind bars. I don't see living behind bars," Tucker said in a recorded phone call with Greg Cipriano.

"Well if you go through this trial, your family will be traumatized," said Greg Cipriano.

"I feel disrespectful saying this but I feel like fighting for the rest of my life is the only thing I have, the only option I have left to do," Tucker said. "Giving up is like hanging myself, Greg. That's what it feels like to me."

"Well, your dad paid for it with his life," Greg said. "And if you have any hope of redemption whatsoever of your soul you would do something about it."

"Don't come at me like that," said Tucker.

Tucker was defiant, insisting that he could never hurt his father. Then just days before the trial, Greg Cipriano tried again, this time bringing Tucker's brother Tanner along.

"The biggest moment of your life could be right now," Tanner told Tucker. "What is more meaningful to me is if you, that you could take responsibility for the first time in your life, just as dad always wanted you to."

His brother's pleas struck a chord.

"That opened my eyes and broke my heart," said Tucker. "I feel like the only way that I'll be able to express my love for the family enough, I'm taking responsibility, you know. I'm sorry for treating you the way I did, you know. I love you. Tanner, I love you so much."

"I love you too," said Tanner. "We all love you."

Just days later Tucker stood in open court and kept his word to his brother.

"So you're willing to accept the rest of your life in prison and take a plea?"

"Yes sir," said Tucker.

Through it all, Tucker graduated as valedictorian of his class. But his twin brother Salvatore is struggling to recover. He still can't speak, he only talks through text, and his mom says Salvatore is paralyzed on his left side.

"Salvatore was in a walker and he had a feeding tube," said Rose Cipriano. "He was drooling, he couldn't use his left arm very well, and his left leg."

Tucker Cipriano pleaded no contest to first-degree murder.

Prior to being led away he read an emotional farewell to his parents:

"Dad, a lot of people miss you down here. I love you and I hope, for what it's worth, I did what you would've wanted me to do. Mom, you remember when the teachers had to detach us, from you, to be able to leave on my first day of first grade, but wouldn't let you go? Well mom, I wish I would've never let go."


Tucker Cipriano, Mitchell Young to spend life in prison for Farmington Hills baseball bat attack

By Gus Burns -

July 24, 2013

PONTIAC, MI — Tucker Cipriano entered the courtroom first about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Within the next hour, both he and friend Mitchell Young, 21, would be sentenced — as was expected — to mandatory life in prison for the April 16, 2012 murder of Robert Cipriano, Tucker Cipriano's 52-year-old father.

Cipriano, now 20, entered the court in an orange jail suit, shackled, with a groomed brown beard and mustache.

In his pre-sentence statement, he admitted only to having been in an altercation with his younger brother, Salvatore, with a BB gun. Salvatorre Cipriano more than a year later remains hospitalized from his injuries.

Tucker Cipriano, who was adopted, accepted no responsibility for for the fatal beating of his father, whom he called a "great man," or for beating his mother, whom he referred to as an "amazing mother."

"She did anything she could do to help me my entire life," Tucker Cipriano said with tears in his eyes. He said she drove him to Ann Arbor frequently since second-grade to get treatment for his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and learning disability.

In his teens, when Tucker became involved with drugs and alcohol and began getting into trouble, his mother attended substance abuse classes to learn more about her son's condition.

Rose Cipriano was beaten nearly to death and left alongside her son, Salvatore Cipriano, in a stairwell leading to the basement of the family's Farmington Hills home. In the landing of the stairwell under Salvatore lay the two bloodied baseball bats that were used to beat them, prosecutors said during Young's trial.

Tucker Cipriano said in the pre-sentence report that he knew his brother, Salvatore's twin, Tanner, the one who called 911, was hiding in an upstairs bedroom, but he pretended not to know on the night of the attack for his brother's protection.

Both Tucker Cipriano and Young pointed to the other as the mastermind behind the brutal beatings.

Assistant Prosecutor John Skrzynski called Tucker Cipriano's statements a farce and an example of his continuing unwillingness to accept full responsibility for his actions. He noted that in Tanner Cipriano's statement to police, he said Tucker Cipriano was searching the house for him and at one point called to Young," There's still one more."

Oakland County Judge Shalina Kumar acknowledged Tucker Cipriano had a difficult life, being abandoned by his birth mother, but he's not the only one in that situation and he had the benefit of a well-to-do, supportive and loving family.

"Others fight through," Kumar said, "With all the support you had, and all the love you had, you threw it away."

None of Cipriano's adoptive family were in the at-capacity courtroom.

Mitchell Ribwiter, Tucker Cipriano's attorney, said his client's girlfriend wanted to give him a Rosary to wear for the hearing, but the court forbid it.

Young accepted event less responsibility for the crimes. He maintained his innocence and guaranteed an appeal.

Well-spoken, Young rattled off point after point why he believed the court system and his attorney, Michael McCarthy, failed him. Young said he requested McCarthy do numerous things throughout the trial, such as creating an exhibit to show the jury the discrepancies in testimony of the prosecution's key witness, Ian Zinderman, but McCarthy failed to follow through.

At one point during the nearly half-hour statement, Kumar stopped Young to tell him this was not an appeal hearing. Young then cut off Kumar while she was talking.

"Don't interrupt me, Mr. Young," she scolded him.

Young showed little emotion until the end of his statement as he spoke about his bright future that was wasted because of his involvement with Tucker Cipriano and drugs.

Tucker Cipriano and Young had been smoking spice, a now-illegal synthetic drug previously sold at convenience stores and gas stations, on the night of the murder.

As he offered condolences to Cipriano's family, Young seemed to wipe tears from his eyes.

Young said he allowed drugs to cloud his mind, "and that was my downfall," he said.

"You have my highest hopes, my best wishes and my prayers," Young said, directing his words to the Ciprianos.

When Kumar gave Skrzynski an opportunity to respond to Young, he began by saying, "I'm horrified."

Skrzynski said neither of the defendants were willing to admit their full guilt.

"Your absolute refusal to acknowledge any of your decisions or your activities... is really unbelievable to me," Kumar said to Young prior to sentencing him to his natural life in prison. "You need to take a look in the mirror... You have ruined your own life, along with the lives of the Cipriano family."

The court session ended with a teary-eyed Young being led out a side door of the courtroom.

After he'd gone, friends and family were let out through an employee-only door to avoid having to speak with media.

Tucker Cipriano pleaded not guilty to felony murder days before his jury trial was set to begin.

A jury found Mitchell Young guilty of first-degree murder and other crimes related to the home invasion and beating of Rose and Salvatore Cipriano in late June.

According to testimony from a friend of Young and Tucker Cipriano, the two had been planning the attack for weeks. They wanted to secure enough cash and a vehicle to leave the state, possibly to Mexico.

On the night of the attack they had broke into the Cipriano home twice to search for cash and gift cards.

It is on the third attempt, the friend said, they planned to take the lives of Tucker Cipriano's family.


Man, 20, who brutally murdered his ‘great dad’ and left ‘amazing mom’ and brother for dead makes nostalgic court speech asking for forgiveness

  • Killer said he remembered holding his mother's hand on the first day of school and that he wishes he had 'never let go'

  • Tucker Cipriano, 20, jailed for life for murdering his father and beating his mother and brother with a baseball bat for drugs money

  • Co-defendant Mitchell Young, 21, also received life sentence but continues to insist he is innocent and did not receive fair justice

By Rosie Taylor for the Daily Mail

July 5, 2013

A man who beat his father to death with a baseball bat and left his mother and brother for dead has asked for forgiveness from his family and God in an emotional speech in court.

Tucker Cipriano, 20, had admitted murdering his father Robert and severely injuring mother Rose and brother Salvatore in a midnight drug-fuelled attack.

Speaking from the dock as he was sentenced to life in prison, Cipriano spoke to the public gallery and asked for forgiveness.

'I stand before the people of the court, the media, my family and friends, but mostly God, asking forgiveness and confessing my sins,' he said, the Detroit Free Press reported.

He described his parents as 'a great dad' and an 'amazing mom', adding that he remembered refusing to let go of his mother's hand on his first day of school.

He said: 'Mom, I wish I would have never let go.'

Cipriano also told the courtroom he loved his father and he hoped that his guilty plea was what his father would have 'wanted me to do'.

His mother and brothers and sister were not at court, although some extended family members cried in the gallery as he spoke, the newspaper reported.

His co-defendant Mitchell Young, 21, furiously denied the charges and said he had been the victim of a 'strong miscarriage of justice'.

Both men were given mandatory life sentences.

Young helped Cipriano, 20, bludgeon his father Robert, 52, to death on April 16, 2012 after breaking into the family home, where Cipriano no longer lived.

They also left his mother Rose, 51, and brother Salvatore, 18, with life-threatening injuries, while his eight-year-old sister Isabella watched helplessly in their Farmington Hills, Michigan home.

Witnesses, including Farmington Hills Sgt. Richard Wehby, testified how Young repeatedly asked whether or not he was in trouble, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Young allegedly told Wehby that Tucker 'went crazy', killed his father and beat his brother with a baseball bat, and initially denied being part of the attack, claiming that Tucker had also hit him.

But he changed his story after the little girl told officers she had seen Young take part in the attack and when investigators noted he had inconsistencies in his story.

'The story changed... on who drove to the scene, how they made entry into the residence, bits and pieces that were never mentioned,' Wehby said.

He allegedly told investigators that he had only hit Rose 'one or two times' in the head with a bat.

Dr. Eric McDowell, from Botsford Hospital, said Tucker's brother Salvatore was barely alive when he arrived at hospital and doctors contacted an organ donation service as he was so critically injured.

He had multiple skull fractures, multiple facial bone fractures and swelling and bleeding on his brain.

Rose Cipriano also had skull and facial bone fractures and bleeding in her brain and Dr. McDowell, who said he regularly deals with assault cases, said: 'This is certainly by far the worst that I've seen.'

The testimony came after Assistant Prosecutor John Skrzynski supplied jury members with graphic photos of the bloody crime scene, showing blood splatted across surfaces throughout the home.

He also showed Mitchell Young's pants, which were splattered with blood.

The two men had been smoking a synthetic marijuana called K2 and broke into the house in search of money for drugs.

Robert heard a noise and, dressed only in his underwear, found the pair downstairs in the kitchen, according to court documents.

He told them to leave but Cipriano used the bat to attack him. Rosemary, who had followed her husband down the stairs, pleaded with him to stop.

Cipriano is then said to have handed Young the weapon and told him to 'keep his mother quiet'. He allegedly struck her in the head.

Salvatore then tried to stop the pair with his pellet gun, but was overpowered and beaten with both the gun and the bat.

Court documents obtained by the Free Press revealed how Isabella, who woke in the middle of the night to the sound of screaming, walked downstairs to see Young battering her mother with a bat.

Cipriano, who was watching the attack, told her go upstairs. She returned, in a bid to save her mother, with her multi-coloured softball bat.

But instead of stopping his friend, he seized the bat and started to smash his mother and brother to within an inch of their lives.

Tanner, Salvatore's twin, hid in a nearby bedroom and called 911 - hiding in a closet when Cipriano came looking for him.

Farmington Hills police testified how they found a blood-soaked Young at the home. Cipriano fled before he was arrested several hours later.

'I got him on the ground [and another officer] puts handcuffs on [Young],' Officer Eric Buckberry testified. 'He had blood in his hands, on the front of his shirt, things like that.'

Officers testified Young was shaking, crying and hysterical following the attack.

Police statements said the scene was 'ghastly', with blood spattered on the refrigerator, cabinets and ceiling.

Young reportedly told police Cipriano 'wanted to break into his parents' house because he wanted to get money, his personal belongings and anything of value'.

Cipriano pleaded no contest to first-degree felony murder. He will spend the rest of his life in prison.


Jury to deliberate fate of Mitchell Young, accused accomplice in fatal Cipriano family baseball bat attack

By Gus Burns -

June 27, 2013

DETROIT — Something brutal, bloody and merciless happened inside the Farmington Hills home of the Cipriano family on April 12, 2012.

After six days of testimony, it will now be the jury's duty to sort out what they believe happened.

The jury will begin deliberating murder, assault, larceny and home invasion charges against 21-year-old Mitchell Young after receiving jury instructions at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Young and Tucker Cipriano, 20, who were both homeless at the time, are accused of going to the Cipriano home with the intent to rob and kill.

Prosecutors allege that Young fatally beat Robert Cipriano with an aluminum Easton baseball bat. Young admitted to police he struck Rose Cipriano "one or two times," at the command of Tucker Cipriano.

Tucker Cipriano, as jury selection wound down, decided not to go through with his own trial.

He pleaded no contest to felony murder and will likely be sentenced to life in prison.

Young's defense attorney, Michael McCarthy, says his client was struck by Tucker Cipriano after he questioned, "what the (expletive) are you doing?" Tucker Cipriano then told Young to hit his mother, Rose, or Tucker Cipriano threatened to beat Young like he did his father, McCarthy said.

McCarthy told the jury he believes Tucker Cipriano beat his father, Robert Cipriano, and handed the bat to Young, demanding he assault Rose Cipriano, who is oiginally from Bay City.

But McCarthy says there was another bat, a Quest softball bat, with Rose Cipriano's blood on it.

Isabella, Tucker Cipriano's 8-year-old sister, entered with that bat in an attempt to defend her mother and father, but Tucker Cipriano disarmed her, picked her up and carried her upstairs. Tucker Cipriano then then used the Quest bat on Rose Cipriano, McCarthy alleges.

Young told police "Tucker when crazy" when they entered the home.

By the end of the attack, 52-year-old Robert Cipriano would lie dead on his kitchen floor in a pool of blood. Rose Cipriano, and Salvatore Cipriano, Tucker's brother, were on a stairway leading into the basement, both barely alive.

The Plan

Ian Zinderman, who calls himself Tucker Cipriano's "best friend," was a key witness in the trial and the only witness who claims to have heard Tucker Cipriano and Young discuss the robbery and killing beforehand.

Zinderman said he first met Young about two weeks prior to the attack at a friend's home. The three discussed robbing and killing a family, possibly Cipriano's. Tucker Cipriano feared returning to jail because he'd violated his probation and wanted a car and cash so he could flee the state, Zinderman testified.

Tennessee and Mexico were mentioned as possible destinations.

The night of April 15, the three, each of them homeless and with little money, decided to steal from the Cipriano home. Twice, Zinderman said he boosted Tucker Cipriano into a garage window at the Farmington Hills home where a gift card and check card were stolen from Robert Cipriano's vehicle in the garage.

After the first trip, they were able to fuel up Young's truck and buy spice, a synthetic drug that is smoked to get high and now banned in Michigan.

The second theft wasn't as fruitful. The gift card they stole had less than $3 on it.

While at a Mobil gas station, Zinderman claims Young and Tucker Cipriano again began talking about killing Cipriano's family stealing valuables and a car, which they would use to flee the state to Tennessee or Mexico.

"Young was supposed to take the parents and Cipriano was going to take his brothers," Zinderman recalled. "Young wanted to kill the sister... The father was going to go first... I mean, he was the biggest threat."

Less than 10 minutes later, police believe Zinderman was dropped off at a friend's home in Keego Harbor where all three planned to spend the night.

"That's when I said no more I'm out," Zinderman testified. "I said, 'If you want to (expletive) up your own life you can (expletive) it up on your own accord.'"

McCarthy questioned Zinderman's credibility, pointing out that he was testifying under an agreement with the prosecution that he receive immunity for his crimes, including breaking and entering and accessory to murder after the fact.

The break-in

On that third trip to the Cipriano home, Young boosted Tucker Cipriano into the garage. Tucker Cipriano then unlocked the garage door to let his friend in.

Upon entering the home, Cipriano was attacked by the family dog, Emmy. Robert Cipriano, wearing nothing more than his underwear, came to check on the commotion and was beaten to death in the kitchen, "drowned" in his own blood, Oakland County Prosecutor John Skrzynski said.

Tucker Cipriano told police he was holding his dad while Young hit him with the bat "a bunch" of times, numerous strikes delivered once Robert Cipriano had fallen to the ground.

Young told police he never struck Robert Cipriano.

During this assault, Rose Cipriano appeared and too was beaten. Young admitted to striking her "one or two" times after being ordered to by Tucker Cipriano, whom he feared.

The admission came only after Young was presented with a statement made by Isabella, who said she saw Young strike her mother. Prior to that, Young had maintained he played not part in the violence and had been struck himself with a bat by Tucker Cipriano.

Although he did have a dislocated jaw, Skrzinski purports it is more likely the result of a punch thrown by Rose Cipriano, who was fighting for her life.

Young told police Isabella appeared and Tucker Cipriano took her upstairs where he heard what sounded like another fight occur. McCarthy alleges this was Tucker Cipriano engaging Salvatore.

Meanwhile, Tanner Cipriano, then 17, hid in his closet and called 911, likely saving his own life, as well as his mother's and twin brother's.

Forensic scientists found blood splatter matching Robert Cipriano's on Young's pants. None of Robert Cipriano's blood was found on Tucker Cipriano's pants that were later recovered when he was arrested in Keego Harbor.

"Tucker Cipriano did not beat Robert Cipriano; Mitchell Young" did, Skrzinski said. Young "intended to kill, that was the plan... he's even beating the people he was assigned to kill."

Police arrived and Tucker Cipriano fled.

Police testified that upon arrival that saw a figure run upstairs. Minutes later, Young would come down, at which time he was arrested.

Tucker Cipriano took Young's truck back to a friend's home in Keego Harbor. It was Zinderman's job to ditch it in Ferndale the following day, but police had the vehicle under surveillance and arrested him before he had the chance.

The adoptee

McCarthy tried to draw out the distinct difference between Tucker Cipriano and his siblings, specifically his younger twin brothers, Salvatore and Tanner, to explain the rage inside him.

He was 5'7, they were 6'1" the attorney said. While Tucker Cipriano was learning disabled, had been kicked out of his home, had legal problems and issues with drugs, his twin brothers were star athletes and scholars.

Police found Salvatore Cipriano lying in the landing of the stairwell to the home's basement. He was gurgling, choking on blood, barely alive, police and medics testified.

Beneath him where two aluminum bats that were used in the attack.

"That's where Salvatores head was, tucked into that corner, his legs going out in this direction and on top of those bats," McCarthy told the jury while showing crime scene photos during his closing statement. "I submit to you that it is not a coincidence that Salvatore is left by his brother to die in that very spot... He's there on that landing on top of those bats right underneath all those team pictures.

It's because Tucker Cipriano is "filled with rage."

Skrzynski told the jury the evidence speaks for itself.

"In order to believe what he was just talking about, you would have to overlook most of the evidence" that was presented and "most of the evidence that was found on Mr. Young," Skrzynsi said. "Tucker Cipriano might be full of rage but Mr. Young is full of blood.

"And he's full of Bob Cipriano's blood."


Robert Cipriano 'drowned in his own blood'; Grim homicide scene described at court hearing WITH VIDEO

By Carol Hopkins -

June 8, 2012

When Farmington Hills Police Detective Richard Wehby walked into Robert Cipriano's home April 16, he saw blood on the walls, stairwells, kitchen cabinets, floors and even the ceiling.

On the kitchen floor lay Robert Cipriano, dead, beaten about the head, drowned in his own blood, according to testimony provided by an Oakland County assistant medical examiner.

The two men accused in the slaying of Cipriano and in the brutal attacks on Robert's wife Rose and 17-year-old son Salvatore -- who remain hospitalized -- are his own 19-year-old son, Tucker, and Tucker's friend, Mitchell "Roderick" Young.

Wehby and others spoke Friday during the second day of testimony in a preliminary exam of Tucker Cipriano and Young at 47th District Court. Judge Marla Parker ruled there was enough evidence to bind the case over to Oakland County Circuit Court for trial. The accused pair are to be arraigned by Oakland Circuit Judge Shalina Kumar.

Tucker Cipriano and Young, 20, are charged with several counts including first-degree premeditated murder and first-degree felony murder in the death of Robert Cipriano, 52. Defense attorney Mitchell Ribitwer represents Cipriano and Michael McCarthy is handling Young's case.

The two men also are charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder for the beatings of Rose, and Salvatore.

Two other Cipriano family members, Tanner, 17, who is Salvatore's twin, and Isabella, 8, escaped the 2:50 a.m. attack.

Young was arrested at the house while Cipriano was later arrested in a home in Keego Harbor. The pair also face a charge of armed robbery.

Salvatore, 17, was hospitalized in critical condition after the incident."Sal continues to display increased stability medically," said Margo Gorchow, Botsford Hospital spokeswoman.

"It is likely that by the end of the week he will be ready to be transferred to a rehabilitation facility specializing in neuro/brain injuries."

Rose, 51, was hospitalized for three weeks and then released to a rehabilitation facility.

Autopsy showed "storm of blows"

As Friday's hearing began, Tucker Cipriano and Mitchell Young -- who are being lodged at the Oakland County Jail -- were escorted wearing bright orange jail clothing and handcuffs into the courtroom. Ribitwer asked Judge Parker if his client Cipriano could have his right hand released from handcuffs so that he could take notes. Parker denied the request, citing the need for security in the court. Several members of Robert and Rose Cipriano's family attended the proceedings but did not speak with media.

Ruben Ortiz-Reyes, deputy forensic pathologist with the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office, first to speak, provided graphic details from Robert Cipriano's autopsy. Cipriano had received blows all about his head -- on the left, top, right, back of the head and on the face, said Ortiz-Reyes.

"His left ear was shredded," he said.

Asked by John Skrzynski, Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor, whether he believed the damage to the ear could have been created by a baseball bat, Ortiz-Reyes said, "Yes, it suggests one blow."

Cipriano's head had severe lacerations and his skull was fractured. His nose and mouth were filled with blood. There was extensive hemorrhaging and bones were broken in small pieces.

Ortiz-Reyes pointed to his own head saying there was one continuous fracture at the back of Cipriano's head, which caused the Farmington Hills father to breathe blood into his airway.

"He drowned in his own blood," said Skrzynski, slowly emphasizing each word.

"He was still breathing, still alive and the blood went into his lungs."

Cipriano also had defensive wounds on his hands, according to Ortiz-Reyes.

The Medical Examiner's Office reported Cipriano died from multiple blunt force trauma -- called a "storm of blows" by prosecutors -- and they determined the cause was homicide. Toxicology reports indicated he had no drugs in his system and no natural disease, said Ortiz-Reyes.

During this testimony Tucker Cipriano wrote at length on a notepad.

Farmington Hills Detective Wehby was called to the Cipriano home on Rose Hill early April 16, according to his testimony. He then drove to Botsford Hospital where he saw teams of medical staff working to aid the unconscious Rose and Salvatore Cipriano.

When he saw Rose, she was "covered in blood," said Wehby. He described her swollen face and swelling around the eye. She wore a neck stabilizer and had her head bandaged.

Salvatore, too, was covered in blood "from head to toe," said Wehby.

Doctors had shaved his scalp to insert a drain in his head.

"Doctors said there was a lot of hemorrhaging in the brain," he said.

'Not a clean, precise scene'

When cross-examined about what he saw at the Cipriano house, Wehby said, "It was not a clean, precise scene." He noted the family dog had walked around the area, leaving footprints in the blood.

Farmington Hills Detective Jason McDonald -- the hearing's final witness -- told Assistant Prosecutor Kelli Megyesi he interviewed Tucker Cipriano after his arrest at the police department around 10 a.m. April 16.

Mitchell Young's statement to police was not discussed in the hearing.

McDonald said Tucker Cipriano offered several versions about what had transpired during the hours prior to Robert Cipriano's slaying and Rose and Sal's beatings.

"(Tucker) said he smoked Spice but that he (hadn't smoked) it that night," McDonald said.

Cipriano also denied having any alcohol and at first denied having gone into the house.

When told that Isabella and Tanner reported to police they had seen Tucker in the house, he did admit he had entered the home.

"He said the dog in the home bit him," said McDonald.

Cipriano told police he broke into the house with Young for money and to steal anything valuable. They entered through a window, McDonald reported.

After the dog bit Tucker, according to testimony, Robert Cipriano confronted the two men.

"The father told them to leave," McDonald reported that Tucker recalled.

"He said Roderick was hiding in a coat rack." Robert heard noise and told the pair to 'get out,' said McDonald.

McDonald said Tucker told him that Tucker held Robert and Roderick hit Robert with the baseball bat they had found in the garage.

When asked how often Roderick had struck Robert, Tucker said to police, "A lot." Tucker said Roderick hit Robert even after Robert had fallen to the floor.

When Rose Cipriano came into the kitchen, Tucker told police she had a "stupid look" on her face. "Roderick hit her with the bat and chased her to the living room," said McDonald, recalling Tucker's statements.

When Isabella came downstairs, Tucker told police he took her back to her upstairs bedroom pleading with her to stay there.

She allegedly said, "I thought you loved me." Tucker told police he said he did love his sister and to stay in her room.

Salvatore, who had a bedroom on the second floor, was taking a BB gun from a gun case, Tucker told police.

He and Salvatore fought and Tucker said he "hit Sal a few times on his shoulder and arm" and Sal ran downstairs. The gun broke. On the main floor Tucker and Salvatore fought again in the hallway. Tucker said he hit Salvatore with a bat one or two times, said McDonald.

Tucker told police that he heard Salvatore making "gurgling sounds" at this point.

Tucker "then went into the bathroom and vomited," said McDonald.

Tucker then alerted Roderick that Salvatore's twin, Tanner, was also in the house. Tanner's bedroom was on the first floor. One or both Tucker and Roderick looked for Tanner, who was hiding, in the darkened house using a lighter.

Police -- alerted about the beatings by Tanner's phone call -- arrived at the home and Tucker told police when he saw the flashing lights, he ran out the back door and drove away in Young's truck. Young was left behind in the house.

The severely injured Rose and Salvatore were dragged toward the basement "so the cops wouldn't see them," Tucker told police.

Isabella had opened the door for police.

The pair took gloves to the scene, McDonald said. "They had taken the gloves from a Henry Ford doctor's office," he said. Tucker told police after the crime that the gloves were "gone."

Ribitwer asked McDonald about Tucker and Rose Cipriano.

"He denied assaulting his mother and he denied assaulting his father -- he just held him (during the assault)," said Ribitwer, and McDonald agreed that was Tucker's statement to police.

'I didn't believe his confusion'

McDonald noted, "He changed his story several times."

Tucker did ask police if Robert Cipriano was alive.

When told no, "he became very emotional," said McDonald. "He was crying and put his head between his knees. He asked for a garbage can because he thought was going to get sick." Tucker Cipriano did not become ill, police said.

Ribitwer said police reports show Tucker was confused. McDonald said, however, "I didn't believe his confusion."

Skrzynski told the judge that the men should be tried in Circuit Court. "One of them killed Bob Cipriano and the other helped. They are equally guilty," he said.

He referred to Rose and Salvatore's "crumpled broken bodies" found at the home. Skrzynski clenched a fist as he stressed "those kind of injuries show intent to kill," he said.

Cipriano's statement to police can't be used against Young, unless Young decides to take the witness stand during the trial, said defense attorneys.

McCarthy argued no testimony was presented to show his client did anything criminal. "Mr. Young was injured himself," he said, noting that Young had a dislocated jaw and was treated at the hospital.

He dismissed the May 23 testimony of mutual friend Ian Zinderman, referring to Zinderman statements as lies. He also stressed Isabella had never been hurt April 16. "My client was merely present," he said.

Ribitwer said Tucker Cipriano may have struck Salvatore, which would bring a felonious assault charge.

"There is no evidence he struck his mother," he said.

After Parker's decision that the pair stand trial, Tucker Cipriano and Mitchell Young were led out of the courtroom. Young stared intently at media sitting in the jury box while Cipriano did not look around.

Ribitwer said he intends to ask that Cipriano be examined at the state's Center for Forensic Psychiatry to determine whether he was criminally responsible for his actions.

"Smoking K2 and Spice over long periods of time, a person may become psychotic," Ribitwer said.

Ribitwer reported Cipriano became upset in court and started crying when he heard testimony that referenced his father and younger sister.

McCarthy said it was "not surprising the case was bound over. It doesn't mean my client will be found guilty. That will be left to 12 citizens."

Asked if defense attorneys would consider a plea deal, McCarthy said plea offers are made at the Prosecutor's discretion. "I'll advise my client if something like that occurs," he said.


'He wouldn't kill his sister because he loved her': How teen shared family hit list with friend before horrific baseball bat murder

By Daily Mail Reporter

May 25, 2012

A witness in the case of a teen accused of plotting to murder his entire family said the suspect carefully planned the massacre, and split with a friend who would kill whom.

Tucker Cipriano, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, is accused of beating his father Robert Cipriano to death in a gruesome attack that left his mother and younger brother critically injured on April 16.

The 19-year-old allegedly planned to murder his family with Mitchell (Roderick) Young after the two broke into the house that night.

Ian Zinderman, a longtime friend of Tucker Cipriano, testified against him on Thursday, according to the Detroit Free Press.

In shocking testimony, Mr Zinderman, told the court: 'Tucker was going to go after his two brothers. And Roderick was going to go after the mom and dad, and Roderick was supposed to go for the sister.'

When asked why Cipriano would not kill his sister, 8-year-old Isabella Cipriano, Zinderman replied: 'Tucker loved his sister.'

The Free Press reported that Tucker Cipriano glared at Zinderman as he spoke.

His testimony came on the first day of a preliminary hearing for the suspects.

It was reported earlier this month that Isabella bravely tried to defend her parents by bringing out her pink and purple softball bat.

But authorities said Tucker, seized the weapon and, alongside Young, continued the savage attack that killed Robert Cipriano, 52.

Tucker's mother Rosemary, 51, was left with two broken arms and severe injuries, and 17-year-old brother Salvatore was also left barely alive - face-down in a pool of his own blood.

Chilling details of what happened in the April 16 attack at the Cipriano's Farmington Hills home, in Oakland, have emerged in witness statements obtained by the Free Press.

The documents reveal how Isabella, who woke in the middle of the night to the sound of screaming, walked downstairs to see Young battering her mother with a bat.

Tucker, who was watching the attack, told her go upstairs. She returned, in a bid to save her mother, with her multi-coloured softball bat.

But instead of stopping his friend, he seized the bat and started to smash his mother and brother to within an inch of their lives.

The files describe how that Sunday started like 'any other' with the family, excluding Tucker who no longer lived at home because of alleged alcohol and drug problems, going to church.

While the family was sleeping, Tucker and Young reportedly broke a window in the garage at 2am to gain access to the house.

Dearborn Public Schools administrator Robert heard a noise and, dressed only in his underwear, found the pair downstairs in the kitchen.

One of them had a bat.

He told them to leave but, according to the affidavit, Tucker used the bat to attack him.

Rosemary, who had followed her husband down the stairs, pleaded with him to stop.

Tucker is then said to have handed Young the weapon and told him to 'keep his mother quiet'. He allegedly struck her in the head.

Salvatore then tried to stop the pair with his pellet gun, but was overpowered and beaten with both the gun and the bat.

Isabella soon arrived with her softball bat but, being so small, Tucker took it from her and continued the attack on his mother and brother.

Tanner, Salvatore's twin, hid in a nearby bedroom and called 911 - hiding in a closet when Tucker came looking for him.

Police arrived and reportedly found a blood-soaked Young on the second floor and handcuffed him.

Tucker fled but was arrested several hours later.

Police statements said the scene was 'ghastly', with blood spattered on the refrigerator, cabinets and ceiling.

Rosemary, Salvatore and the family dog were all seriously injured and all remain in critical condition - Robert died from multiple skill fractures, police said.

Young reportedly told police Tucker 'wanted to break into his parents' house because he wanted to get money, his personal belongings and anything of value'.

Both men are charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and armed robbery.


Man testifies accused killers in Farmington Hills slaying divided up who they would kill

By Carol Hopkins -

May 23, 2012

A 20-year-old homeless man and a veteran Farmington Hills police officer provided riveting details about what happened the night of April 16 when Robert Cipriano was found beaten to death in his kitchen.

Tucker Cipriano, Robert's 19-year-old son and his friend Mitchell Young, 20, stand accused of murdering Cipriano's father and also with two counts of assault with intent to murder for the beatings of Rosemary Cipriano and Salvatore Cipriano, Tucker's mother and brother, as well as one count of armed robbery.

Salvatore, 17, remains hospitalized in critical condition. Rose, 51, is recuperating in a rehabilitation facility. Two other siblings, Tanner, 17, and Isabella, 8, escaped.

The homeless man, Ian Zinderman, 20, testified before Judge Marla Parker in 47th District Court that he was with the pair weeks before the murder and heard them discussing of possibly killing the family for money.

"Tucker was estimating (there would be) $3,000 overall," said Zinderman, who said he would receive a third, $1,000.

He said all three -- Young, Cipriano and Zinderman -- were homeless, "bouncing around friends' houses." Zinderman said he had known Cipriano since the two were in sixth grade together. He said he often saw Tucker smoke the synthetic marijuana drug Spice, and that Tucker needed money for the drug.

On April 15 Zinderman -- who has been granted immunity for his testimony by prosecutors -- said he along with Cipriano, and Young, whom he calls "Roderick," drove a pickup truck to the Cipriano family home twice and broke in to get money. Zinderman said he boosted up Tucker to enter a garage window.

"Tucker wanted me to get Spice," Zinderman said. "They would roll it up into joints and smoke it."

Zinderman said they planned to take money from Robert Cipriano's wallet for Spice and gas money. They would then go to their 14-year-old friend's house in Keego Harbor.

The first time they found a bank card but it wouldn't work at a nearby ATM. Even without the money, Young and Cipriano bought Spice, said Zinderman.

They decided to return to the Cipriano home a second time. This time they found a gift card.

After the second break-in, Zinderman said Young and Cipriano talk about killing Tucker's family for money.

"I heard them, but don't remember who (said what)," Zinderman said.

"They decided Tucker was going to go after the two brothers (Salvatore and Tanner, who are twins), Roderick (Young) was going to go after the mom and the dad. Roderick was supposed to go after the sister (Isabella). The father would go first because (he) was bigger and more of a threat."

The bodies, he said, would be weighted down and thrown into the Detroit River.

Zinderman said he assumed Roderick would handle Isabella because "Tucker loved his sister," Zinderman said, wiping away tears.

Once the massacre had occurred, Zinderman said the family cars would be taken along with objects of value.

"Tucker wanted to run away to Mexico," he said.

Zinderman added that there was some discussion about whether to murder a neighbor family or the Ciprianos, but they chose the Ciprianos because "they seemed better off."

Zinderman said he didn't want to participate.

"I said if they want to f-- up their lives, they can do it on their own accord," he said. "Don't bring me into it."

Zinderman said he asked to be dropped at the friend's house in Keego Harbor.

Zinderman testified that Tucker Cipriano asked to smoke more Spice in order to banish "second thoughts" about killing his family.

The next time he saw Tucker, he said, was when Tucker appeared at the Keego house wearing a shirt with blood on the sleeve. Young wasn't with him. Zinderman said he also saw a wound on Tucker Cipriano's left side.

"It looked like a dog bite," he said.

Cipriano was washing off blood.

"He was very quiet," Zinderman said. "All he said was he messed up."

Zinderman gave him another shirt to wear and said he recalled Cipriano smoking Spice again with other friends at the house.

Cipriano asked Zinderman to get rid of the pickup truck. As Zinderman was at the truck, Farmington Hills police arrested him.

The defense attorneys, Mitchell Ribitwer and Michael McCarthy, hammered away at Zinderman's comments, pointing out he provided different statements about his role as possible getaway driver to Farmington Hills police.

"I was afraid," he said as his reason.

"I've always been afraid of Tucker," he said. "He's unpredictable. You never know what he's going to do, even when he's not smoking Spice."

Ribitwer noted that Zinderman appeared on local TV speaking out about the case right after the crime. "You couldn't have been that afraid," Ribitwer said.

"Was (your speaking up) because Cipriano was locked up?"

Zinderman said yes.

Farmington Hills police officer finds Ciprianos after crime

Officer Michael Meister said he and officer Eric Buckberry were the first two to arrive at the Cipriano home after receiving a radio call about family trouble.

Meister said Isabella let the officers in, and he took the young girl outdoors.

He handcuffed Tanner because he didn't know who he was. Young came downstairs and Meister also handcuffed him.

Meister said he saw blood on the floor and saw people --Rose and Salvatore Cipriano -- lying one atop the other on the stair landing.

After checking upstairs and finding no one, he came back down to the landing and helped Rose Cipriano. Meister said he heard gurgling sounds.

"We pulled Rose off Sal," Meister said. "I held her head because of possible neck injuries. Her right eye was puffed up. Her left was covered with blood. I felt like I was holding her eye in its socket."

He said Salvatore was bloody, with a gouge on his forehead.

His face was so swollen, "I couldn't tell his age." Medics arrived and treated the Ciprianos. Other police officers came to the home. Later Meister saw Robert Cipriano lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen. Two bloody aluminum bats were found in the house, he said.

Robert was pronounced dead at the house, Meister said.

Ribitwer said after the exam ended that Zinderman has "credibility issues. There have been lapses of memory, he can't recall things."

Other witnesses are expected to be called as the preliminary exam continues at the courthouse at 9:30 a.m. on June 8.


Son charged in attack on Detroit-area family

Associated Press

April 18, 2012

A 19-year-old Detroit-area man has been charged with murder and attempted murder in an attack that killed his father and critically injured his mother and brother.

Tucker Cipriano has been in custody since Robert Cipriano was killed with a baseball bat Monday at the family home in Farmington Hills. Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper announced identical charges Wednesday against him and 20-year-old Mitchell Young.

The two are expected to appear in court by a video link from jail. It was not immediately known if they had lawyers.

Cooper calls the crimes "horrific." Police say a break-in at the Cipriano home preceded the attack. Rose Cipriano and 17-year-old son Sal remain in a hospital.

Robert Cipriano was an administrator at Dearborn Public Schools.



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