Tucker Cipriano talked for weeks about killing his family and robbing them for drug money, even contemplating weighing their bodies down with barrels and dumping them in the Detroit River, friends told police.
Police records obtained by the Free Press show that in the hours before authorities say he beat his father to death with a baseball bat and nearly killed his mother and brother on April 16, Cipriano and two other men made a "trial run" to the family's Farmington Hills home. They broke into the garage as the family slept and stole a credit card that belonged to Cipriano's father from a car, reports say.
Cipriano used the card to buy Spice -- synthetic marijuana -- and smoked it, reports say. Later that night, desperate for more money, he told a friend he needed to smoke even more Spice so he didn't have second thoughts about killing his family, according to the records.
Police documents and interviews portray Cipriano as an angry drifter who was recently released from jail, addicted to drugs, hanging out with other drug users and living on the streets and in motels.
Mitchell Young, accused of being Cipriano's accomplice, also was facing difficulties. Kicked out of his mother's house, unemployed and homeless, he was sleeping in motels, with friends or in his truck.
Cipriano and Young, now facing charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder, were growing desperate as the money ran out, according to police reports, and were plotting a devastating scheme: Kill the Cipriano family.
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Young told police the two weren't longtime friends.
They'd only known each other for a month.
Trouble building up
It had been a month since Cipriano, 19, had lived at the home on Rose Hill Drive with his parents, Robert and Rosemary Cipriano, 17-year-old twin brothers Salvatore and Tanner and 8-year-old sister Isabella.
Cipriano and Young spent a few nights in March at the Park Motel on Grand River in Farmington Hills, manager Cindy Franklin said. On two occasions, she said, they snuck into a friend's room. The second time it happened, everyone staying in the room -- which smelled of marijuana -- was kicked out, she said.
Franklin said she was told Cipriano and Young, 20, were hotel-hopping.
Young's driver's license was restricted because of a charge out of Dearborn of operating while impaired by a controlled substance, according to the Secretary of State's Office.
He was having trouble at his job as a waiter at the New Cedar restaurant in Farmington, where he worked part-time for minimum wage. He was a model employee for the first two months, but soon, his performance faltered -- he came to work unshaven and unbathed and was often late, restaurant owner Joe Serhal said.
Serhal said he noticed major changes in Young. "Like you turned him upside down," he said.
Serhal said Young was fired April 13 -- three days before the attack.
Things also were troubled between Cipriano and his parents by then.
A family friend told police he spoke to Rosemary Cipriano days before the attack. She "indicated things with Tucker were escalating," according to reports.
Tucker Cipriano talked frequently and aggressively about murder with his friends, telling one "he would beat someone to death or he would chop them up and feed them to the person's family," police reports indicate.
He stole to pay for drugs, alcohol and hotel rooms, a friend said. The friend reported that Cipriano said several times he would break into his parents' house when they weren't there and steal from them.
Two weeks before the attack, Cipriano admitted to longtime friend Ian Zinderman that he wanted to kill his family and tried to recruit Zinderman to help, Zinderman told police.
Zinderman, who reported knowing Cipriano since they were in fifth grade, told police Cipriano and Young talked about stealing Rosemary Cipriano's car, driving it to Mexico and selling it for money. They also discussed getting rid of the bodies, Zinderman told police, "by weighing them down with barrels and putting them in the Detroit River."
Credit card stolen first
Late the evening of April 15, Zinderman, Cipriano and Young were together, trying to figure out how to get money to buy Spice, reports say.
Cipriano and Young talked about killing a family in Cipriano's neighborhood for money, Zinderman told police. Instead, they drove to the Cipriano home and stole a Dearborn Federal Credit Union card from a car in the garage, Zinderman said.
After using the stolen credit card at an ATM to buy spice at a Valero gas station at Grand River and Orchard Lake, they drove north on Orchard Lake, as Cipriano smoked the drug. They stopped at another station on Orchard Lake in Sylvan Lake for more Spice, but the ATM declined the card, Zinderman told police.
That appeared to enrage Cipriano, who began talking about driving back to the home to kill his family and take money, reports indicate. Zinderman told police that when he tried to talk him out of it, Cipriano 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, who couldn't be reached by the Free Press on Wednesday, didn't return to the home.
Police say Cipriano and Young did and that they broke in and attacked Cipriano's father, mother and brother with aluminum bats.
Rosemary Cipriano pleaded with her son to stop, Isabella tried to stop him with a softball bat and Salvatore confronted them with a BB gun. Tanner called 911. Even the family dog, Emma -- which Isabella called Emmie -- bit Tucker Cipriano several times on his leg and torso, according to police records and Cipriano's attorney Mitch Ribitwer.
But when police arrived, Robert Cipriano, 52, had been bludgeoned to death. Rosemary, 51, and Salvatore, 17, were badly beaten. They remain in critical condition.
Young was arrested at the home.
Cipriano fled. But police were on his trail.
Cipriano was caught at a friend's home in Keego Harbor, where he showed up covered in blood, reports say.
Zinderman, who was at the home, told police Cipriano wanted him to "get rid of" Young's Ford Ranger, which he had driven to the house, and threatened him by saying he would find anyone who ratted him out.
"I am extremely afraid of Tucker," Zinderman wrote in a statement.
Once in custody, Cipriano and Young gave conflicting and evolving accounts of what happened, each labeling the other as the instigator.
Young broke down crying in a call to his mother.
"I'm sorry, Mom," he said, according to a report. "None of this was supposed to happen ... none of this was supposed to happen."
His mother told police she would not be assisting her son with legal counsel, the report says. While recounting his story to police, the report says, Young asked an officer: "I guess I am in a lot of trouble?"
At their arraignments, Young broke down into crying hysterics, while Cipriano sat calm and collected.