Farmington Hills Police Say Cipriano Appeared Alert, Coherent During Questioning
Officers who took the stand at a Thursday hearing in Circuit Court said Tucker Cipriano did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol hours after a brutal assault on his family.
Statements made by two Farmington Hills Police officers in Oakland County Circuit Court Thursday shed more light on the hours and days following the April 16 attack on the Cipriano family in their Farmington Hills home.
Robert Cipriano was killed and his wife, Rose, and son, Salvatore, were critically wounded. The Ciprianos' 19-year-old son Tucker and his friend Mitchell Young face multiple felony counts in connection with the crimes.
On Thursday, Judge Shalina Kumar ruled that statements Tucker Cipriano made while talking with police on April 16, 17 and 18 will remain in evidence. Cipriano's attorney Mitchell Ribitwer sought to suppress the statements, due to his client's use of drugs before the crimes and possible problems with his ability to understand his Miranda rights.
Farmington Hills Police Sgt. Richard Wehby said Cipriano was argumentative and evasive during the initial interview. He testified that Cipriano kept talking over him and was trying to tell detectives how to do their jobs.
"It got very frustrating, to be honest with you," Wehby said.
While Cipriano testified under oath that he had ingested the drug known as K2 or Spice, along with three-eighths of an ounce of hallucinogenic mushrooms and possibly alcohol before and after he entered his parents' home, Wehby said he appeared alert, coherent and aware of his surroundings.
At one point, Wehby said, Cipriano asked about the possibility of going to a state hospital rather than prison. "It showed me that he had comprehension of what had transpired inside the house, that he knew he was in serious trouble," Wehby said.
Also testifying Thursday, Officer Mark Mostek said that when he spoke with Cipriano on April 17, the teen said that he smoked a joint before going to the house and told Mostek, "but I'm not blaming Spice for what happened." Mostek said the conversation happened at Cipriano's request and went on for about half an hour. He said Cipriano was agitated and appeared to throw up before they spoke.
"He wanted to know if I could help him get rid of Spice from the shelves," Mostek said.
Both officers said that Cipriano gave his statements voluntarily and wanted police to hear his side of the story, something Cipriano himself said while on the stand. Despite questions Ribitwer raised about the Miranda warning, Kumar in her ruling said Wehby's explanation of rights to the defendant was among the best she had ever seen.
Cipriano and his co-defendant Mitchell Young, 20, will next appear at a pre-trial hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 8.