FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. - A judge has decided to allow a handful of crime scene and autopsy photos to be shown during the trial of Tucker Cipriano and Mitchell Young.
During an evidentiary hearing Thursday, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Shalina Kumar went through the photos one by one, telling the attorneys which ones she would allow.
Kumar described the photos she rejected as too prejudicial.
Tucker Cipriano is accused of using a baseball bat to beat his family members on April 16, 2012, in their home. He, and alleged accomplice Young, are facing first-degree murder charges.
The trial is set to begin Monday.
Cipriano allegedly beat his father, Bob, to death during the attack. His mother, Rose, and 17-year-old brother, Sal, were seriously hurt. Sal's twin, Tanner, and the family's 8-year-old daughter escaped the attack.
Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor John Skrynski argued autopsy photos needed to be shown so the jury could accurately see the injuries the victims suffered, because by then, the victims had been cleaned of any blood or anything else that would have covered anything up. Skrynski also said the medial examiner would need the photos to visually clarify what he was talking about when he testified.
Kumar said she would immediately allow three, but would take more time debating on a fourth.
The family had asked Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper to consider a plea deal so the horrific details of the crime wouldn't have to be relived in court.
But Cooper said she will not be accepting any type of deal in the case.
She has released this statement:
"We are on the eve of a trial for two defendants that allege committed one of the most brutal and heinous attack that I have seen in my lengthy career. I think that it is beautiful that the family can forgive, it's good for the soul and psyche, but it is a separate issue from the duty that I have to protect the community. No victim in any case wants to relive such a brutal and violent experience, but that is the nature of the criminal justice system. I spoke to Rose Cipriano at length yesterday. We have attempted at least two separate meetings. I've spoken at length with her sisters and our office has had communication with her brother. Her relatives are not seeking any plea bargain. If Tucker Cipriano wants to relieve the family of the trauma of a trial, he and his co-defendant can plead guilty as charged to first-degree murder. This is not an appropriate case for a reduction of charges."
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