FARMINGTON HILLS (WWJ) – Tucker Cipriano, the teenager accused of killing his father with a baseball bat and seriously injuring his mother and brother, is expected to take the stand Thursday.
Mitch Ribitwer, Cipriano’s attorney, says his client will take the stand during an evidentiary hearing in Oakland County Circuit Court and say that he was high on drugs when he waived his Miranda rights and confessed to police. Ribitwer said he wants Cipriano’s confession thrown out.
Ribitwer said Cipriano may be insane from long-term use of K-2 and other drugs.
“With a long history of substance abuse, if the mind has deteriorated or he’s become mentally ill as a result of the ingestion of those particular products or those particular narcotics, voluntary intoxication is not what happened on that day. It’s mentally ill on that day,” Ribitwer said.
Cipriano and his friend, Mitchell Young, are charged with first-degree murder in April 16 attack during which a baseball bat was used to beat his 52-year-old father, Robert, to death. In addition, each has been charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder for the beatings of Cipriano’s mother, Rosemary, and his 17-year-old brother, Salvatore. They’ve also been charged with armed robbery.
Ian Zinderman, a friend of the accused killers, testified during a preliminary examination in May that the pair planned to kill a family for weeks before committing crime, actually debating between the Ciprianos and another local family before deciding the Ciprianos “had more wealth.”
Zinderman, who was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony, explained how he planned, with Cipriano and Young, how to get into the Cipriano home through the garage to get cash for drugs. They broke into the house twice the night of the killing, he said, with Cipriano returning from the first heist with “some kind of bank account card.”
The first card was declined at a gas station where they bought cigarettes, cigarillos and “spice,” a synthetic marijuana, Zinderman said. They went back to the Cipriano home to get more money, rolling a joint and smoking it along the way, he said.
“We were supposed to go back in and find money because the card didn’t work,” Zinderman said.
He said he waited outside while Young and Cipriano went back inside. They returned a few minutes later with a VISA gift card, and the trio headed out to Keego Harbor.
“They decided on going to the Cipriano house and killing the family … I heard one of them, I don’t remember who said it … They were talking about how, which family members should be taken care of, who would take of which family member,” Zinderman said.
Cipriano allegedly said he would kill his brothers while Young killed the mother and father and his sister. “They discussed that the father was going to go first, he was bigger,” Zinderman said, adding that they planned to weigh down the bodies and throw them in the Detroit River.
Zinderman said he told them he wanted no part of the crime, and insisted that they drop him off at a friend’s house. Young and Cipriano allegedly returned on their own a third time, and that’s when the killing happened.
The two survivors of the attack, Tanner and Isabella Cipriano, escaped unharmed; Tanner because he hid and dialed 911, and Isabella, who rushed to the scene with her own pink and purple bat to defend her family, because they left her alone.