DETROIT (CBS Detroit) As jury selection gets under way Monday for Tucker Cipriano and Mitchell Young, accused in the alleged baseball bat attack that killed Tucker Cipriano’s father and gravely injured his mother and brother, battles are brewing behind the scenes.
Mother Rose Cipriano, who was recently released after months of rehab following a serious head injury suffered during the attack, went public with her desire for Prosecutor Jessica Cooper to take a plea deal instead of putting the family through a trial. And Cooper shot back with a detailed statement refuting the request and seeming to take digs at Rose Cipriano.
Cooper statement said, in part: “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.”
She added: “Evil can only prevail when good men do nothing.”
Others in the Cipriano family seem to echo that sentiment, with Rose’s sister Mary Ellen Trahan posting on the family’s support page, “The horror of living through the trial pales in comparison with the horror that surges up every time I think about the savage assault of that night over a year ago. And, for me at least, there is healing in speaking the truth.
“To the extent that those unspeakably harmful acts have had the quality of a still-veiled secret, we may be walking into the light.”
But Rose Cipriano, whose son Salvatore is still in a rehab center struggling to overcome his injuries, continues to fight Cooper’s desire for a trial.
She issued another statement, directly taking on the prosecutor and saying Cooper — who rarely speaks to the media — didn’t talk to the family about a plea deal before she talked to the press
“I spoke with Ms. Cooper on the telephone and we arranged a Thursday meeting at 3:30 p.m. to discuss my views toward any plea negotiation and disposition of this case. Later that same day, Ms. Cooper publicly told the Detroit Free Press there would be no negotiations. She did not call me back after telling the Free Press this information; I had to learn of it when my friends read the paper on Wednesday morning,” Cipriano charged.
“I lost my husband; I was severely injured; one of my sons has been hospitalized since the incident; and two of my other children have had to deal with the fall-out of this incident. I believe by any measure that I am a victim under the law and should have had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Cooper.”
She went on to say Cooper tried to get a local police offer to talk to her teen son at school “without her knowledge and permission.”
She added what she really wants is for her smallest child not to have to testify. Cipriano’s 9-year-old daughter met police at the door after the attack, and was the only one in the house who wasn’t targeted; brother Tanner survived unscathed by hiding under a desk in his room while his brother and his pal allegedly carried out the bloody rampage in a hunt for drug money.
“The evidence in this case is overwhelming; if they cannot convict without my daughter then there is something seriously wrong at the Prosecutor’s office. This is not a case where my daughter’s testimony will make or break the case. I suspect that they merely want the emotional picture of my nine year old on the stand talking about the killing of her father.
Cipriano added she wants her son and his friend to get a “sentence of 40 or 50 years that would take them into old age but would not be a life without parole sentence.”
I understand that Ms. Cooper is elected to make the call on any plea. I recognize she does not have to agree with me.
“Yet her attempt to lecture me on “evil” is the worst kind of cynicism. I have a little idea about evil that men can do; I dare say perhaps more than Jessica Cooper. I have never asked that Tucker and Mr. Young not be severely punished, nor have I asked that “good men” or “good women” do nothing. Ms. Cooper you should be ashamed,” Cipriano said.