Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 22, 2013

DA's office makes Depetris an offer


Hoffmann warned that if Depetris goes to trial on the shooting of his brother-in-law, and is convicted, she would not make another plea offer and any sentence from his first case would run consecutive to a possible prison term if he were convicted in the hitman case.

Defense attorney Earl Key had a quick response to the offer.

"Not interested," he told Farkas.

When the judge asked Depetris, directly, if that was his positon on the plea offer he replied, "Yes, your honor."

Lawyers in the case have been barred from speaking about it to reporters, outside the courtroom. Key asked Farkas to lift the gag order because reporters were in court when the plea offer was made.

"(Reporting of the plea offer) will lead to a negative impression of my client," Key told the judge. "It is blatantly prejudicial to my client's right to a fair trial."

Farkas said, "The gag order remains in effect."

The judge also rejected a defense request that Depetris not be held in "isolation" at the Niagara County jail. Farkas directed that Depetris to placed in isolation after the charges that he tried to hire a hitman from the jail were revealed.

Farkas did deal prosecutors one setback when she ruled that they can not combine Depetris' two current cases into a single trial. 

"The crimes are similar in nature and they involve a number of the same witnesses," Hoffmann argued to the judge. "It was an on-going criminal transaction. The continuing transaction here is the continued attempt to murder (Depetris' brother-in-law)."

But Key told Faraks that his client wants to testify on his own behalf in the hitman trial and not testify in the first case.

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