Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — With his victim sitting in the courtroom, ready to address a Niagara County Court judge before a sentence was handed down, Timothy Depetris decided he wasn’t ready to close his attempted murder cases.
Depetris, who took a “last chance” plea offer from prosecutors in late January, asked on Wednesday to take back his guilty plea.
“Mr. Depetris is asking to withdraw his plea,” defense attorney Earl Key told Judge Sara Shledon Farkas. “And he is asking to have you assign counsel for him.”
Farkas had been prepared to sentence Depetris, 44, and the son of the founder of Electrodyn Choke Corp., to between 15 to 25 years in prison for his guilty pleas to seven charges connected to the shooting of his brother-in-law in what investigators said was a “business dispute.” Depetris had 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.
In return for that 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.
“Well, I’m not going to automatically assign counsel for him,” Farkas said. “He can apply to the Public Defender’s Office, and if he qualifies we’ll appoint someone. Or he can retain new counsel.”
Key, who remains bound by a judicial gag order in the case, did not indicate if he had been removed from the case by Depetris. Farkas told him to be present at a hearing in two weeks and that if Depetris did not have a new lawyer then she would go ahead with his sentencing.