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Pair Charged In Deadly Baseball Bat Attack Due In Court

FARMINGTON HILLS (WWJ) - A teen accused of breaking into his family's Farmington Hills' home and killing his father with a baseball bat has a court date Wednesday afternoon.

The hearing will determine whether 19-year-old Tucker Cipriano and his friend, 20-year-old Mitchell Young, will face trial for the murder of 52-year-old Robert Cipriano.

The pair was charged with first-degree murder in April 16 attack that was allegedly fueled by drugs and the desire to break into a safe in the family's home. In addition, each has been charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder for the beatings of Tucker Cipriano's mother, Rosemary, and his 17-year-old brother, Salvatore Cipriano. They've also been charged with armed robbery.

Tucker Cipriano's attorney, Mitchell Ribitwer, said testimony is expected to be very emotional, with the only two witnesses to the crime -- 17-year-old Tanner Cipriano and his 8-year-old sister Isabella -- expected to take the stand.

"They could call the medical examiner and police officers to testify to the statements of both Tucker Cipriano and Mitchell Young, or they could potentially present the younger sister, Isabella. She said she actually saw Mitchell Young striking her mother with a baseball bat, so they probably will call her," said Ribitwer.

"It's going to be very traumatic, it's going to be very emotional and it's going to be very tough, you know, for this child to come into the courtroom and testify to what she observed and testify against her brother," he continued.

Ribitwer said his client would be interested in a plea deal if the prosecution were to offer one.

"As Tucker's attorney, I'm always open to discussions in attempting to settle this matter, and we would be striving for some type of settlement so that we don't have to subject the family to any more trauma, grief or difficulty," said Ribitwer.

Rosemary Cipriano continues her recovery at a rehab facility, while her son Salvatore remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Roberto Cipriano, 52, was known to many as a leader in the local educational community. He had served as business services director for Dearborn Public Schools since 2002. A spokesman for the district said that while there may have been typical family challenges, no one could predict such a violent end.

If convicted as charged, the two friends could spend up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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