By Christy Strawser
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) After pleading no contest to charges he killed his father and seriously injured his mother and brother with a brutal baseball bat attack in April 2012, Tucker Cipriano appeared in court to speak about the incident for the first time.
While Cipriano seemed to admit responsibility, however obliquely, his friend and alleged co-attacker Mitchell Young did not. “He maintains his innocence, he plans to appeal,” his attorney Mike McCarthy said.
“I never intended for any of this to happen,” an extremely well-spoken Young said, blaming his “association with Tucker Cipriano” for what he claimed as a miscarriage of justice. He turned to his lawyer and lectured him, saying his expectations were not met in the defense.
Complete with hand gestures and direct eye contact with the audience, Young gave what looked like a well-rehearsed performance, going over pages of perceived deficiencies in his defense. He claimed police and hospital staff tailored their testimony to the prosecution, saying, “While I’m a 21-year-old with no legal experience, I clearly recognize these points that I brought to Michael’s attention that were not addressed.”
When it was his turn, Cipriano grabbed a sheet of paper between his shackled hands and read aloud a statement that said, “My father was a great man and was there for me time and time again … He was there getting me enrolled at Eton Acadamy … He was there when I caught my MIP after MIP … and finally intervened … and helped me try to take control of my substance abuse issues.”
He added: “My mom is an amazing mom.”
Breaking down briefly, he said he wanted his dad back, as does “everyone who got a chance to meet him.” He said his dad taught him to take responsibility and serve as a role model for his younger siblings.
“Tanner, Sal and Belly, I love you guys with all my heart,” he said, addressing his younger siblings. “Dad, I love you, for what it’s worth,” he added.
Attorney Mitch Ribitwer said he’s pleased the sentencing will allow the family to move on. Praising Cipriano for his honesty with the plea, Ribitwer said Cipriano “deserves some credit,” for the plea that kept his family from having to testify.
“I’m glad to see that there is this closure and now the family can go forward,” said Ribitwer. “That the legal process is behind the family and now they can get on with their lives and whatever healing process is going to occur – both emotionally and physically can commence.”
Ribitwer says Cipriano has accepted the fact that he’s going to prison for the rest of his life, which is mandatory under sentencing guidelines.
“It’s too bad that he chose this path, he’s a young man, he’s going to spend the rest of his time, the rest of his life in prison,” the prosecutor said.
Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Shalina Kumar spared him nothing, saying to a crying Cipriano, “You’ve ruined the lives of people who did nothing but love you,” and affirming the sentence of life behind bars for both. To Young, she said, “Your absolute refusal to take any responsibility is unbelieveable to me. You clearly are a very intelligent young man … You are not someone who does not know right from wrong … You played a significant role in this.”
Young thanked friends and family for cards and letters, saying they’ve helped him see “there is light at the end of this tunnel.”
“Words do very little to express the depth of sorrow I have for you,” Young said to the Cipriano family, adding. “I pray for you every day … I pray that all of you are able to heal … You have my best wishes and my prayers.”
MORE ON THE CIPRIANO MURDER CASE- HERE.