A witness has said that Tucker Cipriano, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, who has been accused of beating his father Robert Cipriano, 52, to death in a horrific attack that left his mother and younger brother critically injured, had plotted the killing spree with a friend and the two and split in advance who would kill which members of Tucker’s family.
Tucker, 19, and his friend of one month, Mitchell (Roderick) Young, 20, broke into the Cipriano home on April 16 with the intention to kill both of Tucker’s parents, his two younger brothers and his younger sister.
Tucker had no longer been living in his parents’ home due to his problems with drugs and the law.
Ian Zinderman, 20, who had been a friend of Tucker’s since 5th grade, said that Tucker and Young had a very specific plan that night, to kill Tucker’s entire family and steal money and any valuable belongings so that they could support their drug habits.
Zinderman’s testimony came on the first day of the preliminary exam for Tucker and Young, who have been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.
In front of a courtroom packed with Cipriano family and friends, Zinderman testified, “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 Assistant Prosecutor John Skrzynski asked why Young, and not Cipriano, would kill 8-year-old Isabella Cipriano, Zinderman replied, “Tucker loved his sister.”
Zinderman admitted that he had known for weeks that Tucker and Young were planning to murder the Cipriano family.
Zinderman testified that he helped Tucker break into the Cipriano garage twice to steal Tucker’s father’s credit cards, which Tucker used that night to buy Spice, a synthetic marijuana, which he smoked after purchasing.
After Tucker’s first purchase, the ATM card was declined, and Zinderman told police that this seemed to enrage Tucker and the young man began talking about returning to the home to kill his family.
According to police reports, Zinderman claims that when he tried to talk Tucker out of it, Tucker told him to “quickly roll up a jay so that he could get higher because he didn’t want to have second thoughts about killing his family.”
Zinderman also admitted under testimony that after the gruesome events that took place at the Cipriano home, Tucker showed up at the place he was staying at Keego Harbor house where the blood covered teen was given a clean shirt to wear.
In exchange for his testimony against his long time friend Tucker and Young, Zinderman was offered immunity from prosecution for the home invasions, conspiracy to commit murder and being an accessory after the fact.
“Now you’ve admitted to conspire to commit murder and having been an accessory after the fact,” Mitchell Ribitwer, Cipriano’s attorney, said to Zinderman during cross-examination. “You could go to prison for the rest of your life… so the reason you’re testifying is because you can get off the hook.”
“No,” Zinderman replied. “It’s because it’s the right thing to do.”
Unfortunately, Zinderman didn’t feel compelled to “do the right thing” before an innocent man was murdered and a family was destroyed.
Testimony and police reports describing the events that occurred during the night of the killing sound like something out of a horror movie.
Police reports say that Tucket talked frequently and aggressively about murder with his friend. He told one of his friends that ”he would beat someone to death or he would chop them up and feed them to the person’s family.”
According to statements Tucker and Young gave to police, they say they broke into the Cipriano home through the garage around 2 a.m. and one of them (they each blame the other) picked up a baseball bat.
Robert Cipriano, who probably heard noises downstairs, went to the kitchen and found the two young men.
According to a search warrant affidavit, Robert asked what was going on and told the young men to, “Get out of my house.”
The affidavit states that was when Tucker grabbed the baseball bat and began to viciously attack his own father.
Rose Cipriano, 51, had followed her husband down the stairs and saw her son beating him.
“Please stop, please stop,” she cried, according to Young’s statement to police. “I love you. I will give you whatever you want. Just stop, just leave.”
According to the affidavit, Tucker gave the bat to Young and told him to keep his mother quiet. Young then struck Rose in the head with the bat.
One of Tucker’s younger brothers, 17-year-old Salvatore, attempted to stop the two men by shooting them with a pellet gun, but he was overpowered and beaten with the gun and the bat.
Tucker’s little sister Isabella, who is only 8-years-old, bravely attempted to save her family, arriving with her purple and pink softball bat. Isabella told police that Tucker took the bat from her and told her to go back upstairs. He then began to beat his mother and brother with the softball bat.
Tucker’s other younger brother, Tanner, 17, Salvatore’s twin, heard what was happening and, still upstairs, called 911.
Tanner told police that Tucker came upstairs and into his bedroom looking for him, but he hid underneath a desk in the dark. Tucker used a lighter to look under Tanner’s bed for him.
“He did not see me, so he yelled to his friend, ‘There’s still one more! Search the house!’ ” Tanner told police.
“I heard my sister yelling, ‘I thought he loved me, Mom, why is he doing this?’ ” Tanner said in a written statement to police. “And my mom said she didn’t know.”
Police arrived and found Young upstairs and covered in blood, complaining of his own injuries received from the Cipriano family fighting for their lives. Tucker had fled the scene and was arrested several hours later at the Keego Harbor house.
There was blood splattered everywhere in the Cipriano home. Rose was in and out of consciousness and in terrible pain. Salvatore was non-responsive.
Robert was dead from multiple skull fractures and other injuries.
Even the family dog, Emma, was injured. According to reports she tried to defend her family by biting Tucker several times in his torso and leg.
A safe in the master bedroom, which Robert and Rose had due to Tucker’s history of stealing from them, had been broken into and emptied. Bloody latex gloves were found in the master bedroom by police.
According to a police report, Young said after being questioned by an officer in the hospital, “None of this was supposed to happen.”
However, if Zinderman’s testimony is truthful, what was “supposed to happen” was something even more horrific, which is hard to imagine.
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