Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — Timothy Depetris spends his days at the Niagara County Jail alone, locked in a small cell, and isolated from the rest of the inmate population.
He was ordered to be be kept in isolation after he was accused of trying to enlist another inmate to help him hire a hitman.
Now Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas is weighing whether that isolation is violating Depetris' constitutional rights.
Farkas heard testimony from Depetris, during a Thursday hearing, on claims he is being denied access to his defense counsel and access to assisting in his own defense as a result of that isolation. Specifically, Depetris and his attorney claim that he is being kept from using a jail computer that can be used for legal research and is not being allowed to make phone calls to his lawyer.
The son of the founder of Electrodyn Choke Corp. is accused of trying, and failing, to kill his brother-in-law and then trying to hire a hitman to kill his relative and a witness to the first crime.
Depetris has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree attempted murder, two counts of second-degree attempted murder, two counts of conspiracy and two counts of criminal solicitation in connection with his attempt to hire a hitman while he was in the county jail. He has been jailed, without bail, since his arraignment on May 15 on charges of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree criminal use of a firearm, three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, six counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree criminal trespass in connection with the actual shooting of his brother-in-law in the early morning hours of March 26.
Six of those charges, relating to the possession of a “large capacity ammunition feeding device”, also known as a bullet clip or ammunition magazine, have been dismissed.