Niagara Gazette

Courts

January 29, 2014

Falls businessman pleads guilty to attempting to kill his brother-in-law

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — Niagara Country prosecutors warned Timothy Depetris he'd have just one chance at a plea offer.

His defense attorney told them his client was "not interested."

But on Tuesday, just two weeks before jury selection was scheduled to start on the first of his two upcoming trials, Depetris decided to take the deal.

Sometimes sobbing softly, other times struggling to fight back tears, Depetris, 44, the son of the founder of Electrodyn Choke Corp., pleaded guilty to seven charges connected to the shooting of his brother-in-law in what investigators said was a "business dispute." Depetris entered his plea 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 the guilty plea, prosecutors said they would move 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. 

Depetris faced 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 that case.

The deal was slightly better than the prosecutor's original plea offer made in October. That offer would have required Depetris to plead guilty to a single count of attempted first-degree murder. First Assistant District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann indicated then that Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas had agreed to cap Depetris' sentence at 20 years to life, the minimum possible sentence for attempted first-degree murder.

Farkas told Depetris on Tuesday he would face a little less time behind bars.

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