Niagara Gazette

Local News

November 8, 2013

Judge rules DePetris traffic stop was legal


Niagara Gazette —

"We have to look at this from the perspective of a seasoned veteran," Farkas said. "He's investigating a shooting ... he developed a suspect ... and a suspect vehicle that was a purple, Dodge Ram."

Stack testified at an earlier hearing that he had been told that DePetris was living, without charge, in a penthouse at Seneca Niagara Casino. The detective said he began to randomly check the casino parking lot for the purple truck.

"Lo and behold, (on March 30) there is a vehicle matching that description in the casino parking lot," Farkas said. "There is nothing illegal about following that vehicle."

Stack also testified that he saw a woman approach the truck, briefly, in a high crime area and witnessed what he believed was a drug transaction. Farkas ruled that was enough reason to then pull the truck over.

"It was perfectly valid under the circumstances," Farkas said. 

When the driver of the truck claimed to be "out scrapping" and when Stack questioned him about that claim, DePetris, who was a passenger in the vehicle, intervened.

"Conveniently, Mr. DePetris introduces himself and he's the suspect in the shooting the detective is investigating," Farkas said. 

Stack asked DePetris to get out of the truck and "patted him down." It was then that he discovered that DePetris had a loaded, semi-automatic handgun on a string around his neck.

"The stop of the vehicle was legal," Farkas said. "The questions (from Stack) were perfectly appropriate."

A further search of the pick-up revealed what one investigator called an “arsenal.” In addition to the handgun and a bullet clip found in DePetris' jacket pocket, detectives discovered a fully automatic rifle and multiple, loaded ammunition clips in the back seat of the truck.

DePetris is accused of shooting his brother-in-law in the doorway of the victim’s new business in the 2300 block of Hyde Park Boulevard. The 56-year-old victim, who had gone to the door for a pizza delivery, was shot in the upper chest, near his shoulder.



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