Judge Rules Young's Statement After Cipriano Attack Admissible
Mitchell Young's defense attorney asked the court to throw out a statement made hours after the April attack on the Cipriano family.
A request by Mitchell Young's attorney to throw out a statement Young made while in the hospital hours after the April attack on the Cipriano family was denied in circuit court today.
Young, 21, and friend Tucker Cipriano, 19, face felony charges related to the April 16 attack in the Cipriano home, which resulted in the death of Robert Cipriano, Tucker's father, and severe injuries to his mother, Rose, and brother, Salvatore.
Defense attorney Michael McCarthy asked the court to suppress Young's statement, arguing that he was in the hospital with an injured jaw, and it's possible Young had a small seizure before talking to the police. McCarthy also said police did not record the interview.
Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Shalina Kumar said that since Young waved his Miranda rights, and there was no evidence of police coercion, she only needed to consider whether Young was in his right mind when he gave his statement. Kumar ruled that the evidence shows Young was coherent and competent when he gave his statement.
Six witnesses testified in court over the course of three hours Wednesday. The court heard from the firefighter, nurse and doctor who attended to Young that night, as well as the two police officers who guarded him in the hospital and the detective who questioned him.
All six witnessed testified that Young appeared coherent and was able to appropriately answer questions.
Young was transported to Botsford Hospital by ambulance after the attack. Farmington Hills paid on-call firefighter Daniel Wecker, who first attended to Young at the Cipriano house, treated Young for a bloody nose.
Wecker testified that Young said he had been hit by a baseball bat in the face and torso. He said that after examining him, he determined his injuries were minor.
After being taken to the emergency room at Botsford, Young was treated by a nurse and Dr. Jillian Davis, who said Young never complained of pain at the hospital. She said a CT scan of his face showed that Young had a interior dislocation of his left jaw, but that the injury was not serious. A CT scan of his head did not show any swelling or bleeding, and a CT of his abdomen did not show any damage.
When asked how she would categorize Young's injury, Davis said, "Pretty minor."
Young's alcohol screening was negative. His urine tested positive for marijuana, but all of the witnesses testified that Young did not appear to be under the influence of any drugs.
Young was released from the hospital after 12 hours.
The question of a seizure
Davis testified that before Young gave his statement to police, she was called in to check on Young after a technician said he was having seizure-like activity. The police officers who testified said Young had vomited or spit up, but that he was not shaking.
Davis said that when she arrived, Young was sitting up in bed and did not show signs of having had a seizure. Davis agreed that an EEG given to him later that night did not reveal any seizure activity.
Young's police statement
Detective Richard Wehby of the Farmington Hills Police Department questioned Young at Botsford Hospital from approximately 5-8 a.m. on April 16. Wehby said he read Young his Miranda rights line by line, and that Young initialed each line and signed at the bottom. Both police officers testified that Young also waved his rights.
Wehby said the Hills department only has one audio recorder, and it was checked out that morning. McCarthy asked if Wehby could have called to get a recorder, and Wehby said he was focused on getting information from Young about Tucker Cipriano's whereabouts.
Wehby said Young gave him information that helped the police track down Cipriano, who was still not in custody, and did not complain of being in any pain or have trouble answering questions.
Kumar also ruled that Young and Cipriano will have a joint trial, with separate juries. Young is scheduled to appear in court for another pre-trial on Dec. 11, while Cipriano, who has been judged competent to stand trial, will be back in court Oct. 31.