FARMINGTON HILLS (WWJ) – The family of a Farmington Hills man, allegedly beaten to death by his adopted son, is squaring off against the Oakland County Prosecutor.
Speaking live on WWJ Newsrasdio 950, Robert Cipriano’s brother Greg said he wants Prosecutor Jessica Cooper to accept a plea deal with 21-year-old Mitchell Young and 20-year-old Tucker Cipriano.
“I’ve been working on trying to get a plea out of the prosecutor’s office for the last three weeks,” Greg Cipriano told WWJ’s Jackie Paige. “… However, that’s all been shot down.”
Cipriano and Young are charged jointly in the April 16 attack in which a baseball bat was used to beat 52-year-old Robert Cipriano, to death. In addition, each has been charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder for the beatings of Tucker Cipriano’s mother, Rose, and 17-year-old brother, Salvatore.
Greg Cipriano said the family just wants the whole nightmare and done with. “I know what they’re going through, and this case is going to be a second assault on the family,” he said.
Hear the interview:
[CLICK HERE to listen on your mobile device].
Greg Cipriano said preparation for the trial has been extremely hard on 9-year-old witness, Robert’s daughter, Isabella.
“She repeated, over and over and over again [to prosecutors] — at least 10 to 30 times — ‘I do not remember,’ and I found this to be badgering,” he said. “And so did … Isabella’s therapist who was there as well, watching this with me.”
Greg Cipriano said Rose, who was critically injured in the attack, has written a letter to prosecutors asking them to negotiate a plea; or, at the very least, that they leave Isabella and her son Tanner out of it. But, he said, prosecutors have refused.
Greg Cipriano, an attorney himself, said he believes Cooper is using Isabella and Tanner to “sensationalize the case,” hoping that their testimony will earn national media attention.
“I feel that the [prosecutor’s] office’s behavior has been very underhanded, and the only conclusion that I can come to is the sensationalism that Jessica Cooper wants — it’s a self promotion of her office … It would be very unnecessary for Tanner or Isabella to give testimony when there’s a mountain of evidence,” he said.
In a statement emailed to WWJ on Friday, Cooper stood by her decision to move ahead as planned.
“We are on the eve of a trial for two individuals that we allege have committed a brutal and heinous attack on a family. As it states in our pleadings, this is a crime not only against the family, but against the peace and dignity of the people of the State of Michigan,” Cooper said.
“No victim of violence and horror wants to testify in an open court and recount their experiences. Yet, countless people take the witnesses stand everyday to testify against defendants, not only because they are compelled to by court order, but because they want to make sure that no one else suffers as they did. It is also my job, as the Oakland County Prosecutor, to do my best to make sure that no one else suffers at the hands of such individuals in the future.
“There is a quote from conservative philosopher Edmund Burke, which says in essence: Evil can only prevail when good men do nothing.” [Read the complete statement HERE].
Greg Cipriano said Rose is for the most part recovered, continuing outpatient therapy, but Salavatore remains hospitalized.
“He’s had a few setbacks, but right now he’s bounced back and he has got a great spirit, and we’re very, very happy that he’s in the position he’s at right now. We hope to bring him home soon.”
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday. Both Young and Tucker Cipriano face life in prison if convicted of first degree, premeditated murder.