Farmington Hills — Sobbing uncontrollably, one of two young men charged with murdering a Dearborn school official proclaimed his innocence during an arraignment today.
"I didn't do any of those things," said Mitchell Young, 20, as he cried and covered his face with his hands. "I don't know what to do — oh, my God!"
Young had been the mysterious second figure, arrested inside the house where police found Robert Cipriano, a Dearborn school official, dead from wounds inflicted by a baseball bat. Critically injured were his wife, Rose, and 17-year-old son Salvatore.
Young and Cipriano's 19-year-old son, Tucker Robert Cipriano, were arraigned on charges of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree felony murder, armed robbery and two counts of assault with intent to murder.
Both defendants pleaded not guilty and requested that attorneys be appointed for them in a video arraignment before Judge Marla Parker in 47th District . Pre-exam conferences were scheduled Friday for both men.
After Young broke down, assistant Oakland County prosecutor John Skrzynski said, "It's a shame this young man didn't show the same compassion when he systematically cracked open heads inside that house."
Besides entering his not-guilty plea, Tucker Cipriano did not address the charges against him, but he did speak about missing a meeting earlier this month with the state officer supervising his probation for a drug conviction. The probation officer was suspended Tuesday by the Michigan Department of Corrections, which is investigating how Cipriano was supervised.
"I didn't show up for a probation meeting, but I've been talking to my probation officer about that today," Cipriano said.
The charges against the men carry a life sentence without possibility of parole.
"The tragedy and brutality of these crimes is horrific," the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office said in a release.
Police were alerted to the baseball bat attack at the home at 2:48 a.m. Monday by Salvatore's twin brother, Tanner. Tucker was arrested at the Keego Harbor house, where he had been known to live, about 8 a.m. Monday when his 2002 Ford Ranger was spotted parked outside.
Tanner had discovered a struggle between several family members and the intruders. He scooped up his 8-year-old sister while he hid in the home and called 911, police said.
The victims were found in various parts of the house, and there had apparently been a struggle with the attackers, police said. Young was arrested as he tried to run up stairs in the home, located on a short, scenic gravel road with large lots in an area west of Orchard Lake Road and north of 11 Mile.
Police said they were aware that Robert Cipriano struggled with his son over the last year but never expected this to happen.
Tucker Cipriano, who turned 19 on April 5, has convictions over the past three years for possession of marijuana and morphine, and has been seeing counselors since second grade. He had been diagnosed with an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
In January, he wrote Oakland Circuit Judge Michael Warren from the Oakland County Jail, asking whether he would have to "wait until after I am done with probation to enter the Marines."
Tucker Cipriano was doing time as part of his sentence for his conviction in October for a June incident in which he was spotted buying drugs behind a 7-Eleven store in the Nine Mile and Middlebelt area. When searched, he was found with a tin foil packet containing a 50-milligram morphine pill and was charged with possession of a controlled substance under 25 grams.
It wasn't Tucker Cipriano's first brush with the law. He failed all his classes in the 2008-09 school year and failed to attend summer school, despite his vow to give it his best effort.
In May 2009, he was arrested smoking marijuana and in possession of marijuana on school grounds. He was put on intensive probation in May 2010 after he was caught drinking alcohol at school out of a Gatorade bottle.
According to a juvenile referee's report in January 2010, Tucker Robert Cipriano was seeing both a psychiatrist and psychologist, and had been in counseling beginning in second grade as well as receiving pharmaceutical treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.