Niagara Gazette

Courts

May 7, 2014

Depetris has new lawyer, wants plea changed

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — A Falls businessman, who pleaded guilty to shooting his brother-in-law, now has a new defense lawyer and will look to change his plea.

Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas has tapped defense attorney George Muscato to represent Timothy Depetris. Muscato made a brief appearance before Farkas on Tuesday afternoon and told the judge he intends to file a motion seeking to withdraw Depetris’ guilty pleas to seven charges connected to the shooting of his brother-in-law in what investigators said was a “business dispute.” 

The veteran Lockport-based defense attorney said he will file his plea change request within 30 days.

Depetris, 44, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault, three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, one count of first-degree criminal use of a firearm and one count of second-degree criminal trespass during a hearing in late January.

The son of the founder of Electrodyn Choke Corp., Depetris is facing between 15 to 25 years in prison. His plea had been part of a deal with prosecutors,

In return for the plea, prosecutors had agreed to dismiss all the charges in a second indictment that Depetris faced. That case involved allegations that he tried to hire a hitman to kill his brother-in-law, and a witness to his first crime, while he was being held in the Niagara County Jail. 

On the day he was scheduled to be sentenced, Depetris told Farkas he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea and change his lawyer. Farkas allowed defense attorney Earl Key to withdraw from representing Depetris.

Although Depetris qualified for the services of the county public defender, Farkas was forced to appoint Muscato because of conflicts of interest involving the defender’s office. 

Niagara County Public Defender David Farrugia said he couldn’t represent Depetris because one of the lawyers in his office, as part of his private practice, is representing Depetris’ wife in a divorce proceeding.

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