Oakland County prosecutor responds to Cipriano matter
4:10 PM, Jun 6, 2013
11:23 PM, Jun 7, 2013
(WXYZ) - With the Cipriano murder trial set to start Monday, Oakland County prosecutor Jessica Cooper is defending her actions in the case with a new statement issued Friday night.
Nearly 15 months after a family was savagely attacked in their home by one of their own, the Cipriano family spoke with 7 Action News' Jim Kiertzner on Thursday, saying the family does not want a trial and does not want the mother and her two kids to have to testify.
Tucker Cipriano, 20, and his friend 21-year-old Mitchell Young are set to go on trial next week for the baseball bat attacks on Tucker's father, Bob, who was killed, his mother, Rose, and younger brother, Salvatore, who were critically injured.
Greg Cipriano says "our only option is to appeal to the public through the media which is the last thing we wanted to do. The last thing that we wanted was to have exposure to the family. But the prosecutor's office has left us no choice but to appeal to the public and beg and plead for the prosecutor, Cooper to help us."
7 Action News reported yesterday that Rose Cipriano wrote a letter to Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper last week requesting a plea deal rather than a trial because reliving the attacks from April of 2012 would be too painful for her family. Greg also alleges the prosecutor's office has turned family members against each other, he calls it "unethical" and "immoral."
However, an older sister of Rose Cipriano, Mary Ellen Trahan, who lives in Georgia tells 7 Action News that Greg Cipriano does not speak for the entire family and she believes that a trial is "a step in the process put in motion by the brutal attacks on April 16, 2012."
She also says while painful, she disagrees with her sister, Rose. Trahan says she last spoke with Rose two days ago, and would not discuss how they disagree.
"That's between her and me" Trahan said.
Tucker Cipriano and Mitchell Young both confessed to police and their defense attorneys are willing to plead their cases to avoid trial and ensure they would be in prison for at least 35 to 80 years.
They are charged with first degree murder and attempted murder. The pair faces automatic life in prison without parole if convicted.
Prosecutor Jessica Cooper issued a statement to 7 Action News late Friday. The full statement is below:
"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.
All attorneys are prohibited by the code of Professional Responsibility from commenting in the media about the character of a potential witness in a criminal trial (Greg Cipriano is listed as a potential witness); attorneys are also prohibited from discussing the terms of a possible plea. These rules are in place so that no lawyer can attempt to influence a potential juror's decision through the use of the media.
At the outset of this case, I personally met with family members, including Greg Cipriano; indeed, we helped facilitate the appointment of a guardian while Mrs. Cipriano remained incapacitated. I have spoken repeatedly with Rose's sisters. We scheduled three meetings with Rose Cipriano, who I spoke with at length on the phone. She cancelled all three meetings. I have never spoken to a member of the clergy about this case or any witness' testimony. As almost every member of the metro Detroit media knows, we do not release details of a case to the media or anyone else, other than the attorneys for defendants as required by law. And I have never been described by anyone as a media hound.
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."
Jury selection for the case starts on Monday.
The entire interview with Greg Cipriano is in the video player above.