Jury seated in trial against Mitchell Young, co-defendant in Cipriano murder

Young, Tucker Cipriano charged with murder in 2012 attack that left father dead, 2 others seriously hurt

By Lauren Podell - Reporter , Bisi Onile-Ere
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PONTIAC, Mich. - Local 4 was in Oakland County Circuit Court Monday as a jury was selected for Mitchell Young.

Young is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the April 16, 2012, attack that left 52-year-old Robert Cipriano dead in his family's Farmington Hills home. His wife Rose and their son Sal were injured.

Young's co-defendant, the Cipriano's eldest son, Tucker, is also charged with murder. His jury was picked last week and has six men and eight women, including two alternates. Prosecutors say the defendants were smoking synthetic marijuana and were seeking drugs and money when they attacked.

1:45 p.m.

The media, along with family members and friends of Tucker Cipriano, patiently wait for proceedings to begin. 

Sources say Tucker is expected to plead guilty to felony murder in the death of his father who was attacked with a baseball bat.

12:15 p.m.

Judge had called a break. Jurors asked to come back at 2 p.m.

12 p.m.

The prosecution asks yet another potential juror to leave. 

10 dismissed so far.

Mitchell Young sits next to his lawyer with his hands crossed, listening intently, while facing the jury box as judge Shalina Kumar questions the recent replacement.

11:50 a.m.

Prosecution releases yet another juror, a young woman, who earlier said she had no problem serving as a juror.                                     

Jury selection began over two hours ago. Some of the potential jurors appear fidgety.

11:42 a.m.

Another juror, a man, is released. This brings the total to 8 so far who have been asked to leave. The prosecution is now questioning the replacement, another man.

11:35 a.m.

7th juror dismissed by the prosecutor. The Southfield woman admitted to a prior run in with the law for shop lifting. She left the courtroom and appeared relieved.

11: 30 a.m.

6th juror is excused. The Oakland County man earlier admitted to having close relationships with those in law enforcement. Despite this admission, he said he could be unbiased. Hours later he's told he's free to leave.

11:15 a.m.

So far 5 jurors have been excused, 2 women and 3 men.            

It's been an emotional morning. Several  potential jurors have burst into tears after questioning. Mitchell young appears to be very attentive through this process.

10:20 a.m.

Assistant prosecutor warns potential jurors that if anyone else feels uncomfortable to remember there will be graphic images displayed throughout the trial.

Young continues to sit upright, next to attorney, listening to questioning. This is something I've never heard before, but the prosecutor told potential juror's there is a witness in this case that has been given immunity. Assistant prosecutor asks potential jurors if they couldn't trust the credibility of the witness because he/she was granted immunity.

Assistant prosecutor, "Will you give the person that has immunity a fair hearing?"

The 14 potential jurors being interviewed said they would.

One of the potential jurors (female) being questioned by assistant prosecutor gets emotional and starts crying.

Prosecutor asked, "Are you nervous?"

Juror, "Yes, very nervous."

Prosecutor: "It's ok a lot of people get upset." He hands her a tissue.

10:15 a.m.

Judge Kumar has made it through the first 14 interviews.

Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor John Skrzynski is now standing before potential jurors asking them to be honest and stresses that this case relies on their honesty and their ability to follow what the law requires of them as jurors.

Skrynski said, "It is not your job to decide if this person is a good person or a bad person. As the finders of facts, you have to determine what happened. Second thing you will do is apply the law to the facts of the case."

Everyone agreed that they can do that.

Skrzynski said to one potential juror, "You have a look of doubt on your face."

One (female) potential juror said she is a nurse and deals with individuals on drugs all of the time and feels she brings prejudice with her to the courtroom based on defendant's age and type of crime that was committed. She told the prosecutor she would have too much sympathy for the people injured based on the experiences she's had at work.

Potential juror said "I'm saying if I were to find out that they were high on K2 or whatever drugs, I'll be able to picture what they've done and I don't think I can, separate my feelings from facts."

9:55 a.m.

Potential juror tells Judge Kumar he has a medical condition and will not be unable to serve as a juror.

He continued to tell the judge he has a bladder condition and has had three operations. He also said he needs to be excused every 45 to 50 minutes to use the restroom and that sitting for long periods of time is the worst. As soon as his interview was over, he asked the judge permission to leave.

Judge Kumar allowed it.

9:50 a.m.

Judge Kumar is halfway through the first 14 interviews of potential jurors for defendant Mitchell Young.

One potential juror told the judge, "If you're arrested for it, I believe you probably did it."

She continued to say, "I don't think my mind could be open to thinking innocent until proven guilty."

9:45 a.m.

Second juror interviewed (male) was seated on a jury for a Macomb County case in the past.

Judge Kumar asked the council to approach after first two potential jurors were interviewed. The female that left the courtroom in tears, is now back and calm. Another, potential juror has several local police officers as close friends. Judge Kumar asks if she can trust him not to discuss the case with them. He replied "Well I can't, right?"

The courtroom laughed as Judge Kumar said, "No, you can't."

This same potential juror is asking for a harsh penalty from the judge based on what he's heard in the media.

Judge Kumar said, "Will you bring in your preconceived notions allow the trial to take it's course?"

Potential juror replied, "Yes, I think I can keep my emotions at bay."

9:30 a.m.

Judge Kumar reminding jury pool they are still under oath as interview process begins. First juror (a male) was asked if he had any contact with the criminal justice system in the past. He told Judge Kumar he had a drinking and driving offense along with a domestic violence incident.

In the middle of the first juror interview, another potential juror (female) broke out in tears and had to be escorted out of the courtroom.

Another juror yelled "She has to use the bathroom."

9:15 a.m.

62 potential jurors to get through today.

Judge Kumar will seat the first 14. They will be brought in one at a time.

7 men, 7 women are now seated.

The interview process will now begin.

9 a.m.

Defendant Mitchell Young made his way into courtroom at eleven minutes after 9 a.m.

Two Oakland County Sheriff's removed the shackles Young was wearing around his wrists and waist.

He was greeted by his attorney, "Good Morning, Mitchell."

Mitchel is dressed, once again, in a black suit. He had tie waiting for him in the courtroom. His attorney helping to put it on. TV photographers were just asked to leave the courtroom as jury selection begins.

8:30 a.m.

At this point, jury selection for defendant Mitchell Young has yet to begin.

Dozens of potential jurors are lined up outside of the courtroom.

Today is the third day of questioning to seat 14 jurors in Young's case.

On Friday, 28 potential jurors were dismissed, including two women who were openly crying as they left the courtroom.

Once a jury for Young is seated, opening statements are scheduled to begin.

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