Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — Timothy Depetris will get a new lawyer and then decide if he wants to change his guilty plea to attempted murder and other charges stemming from the shooting of his brother-in-law.
However, finding the Falls businessman a new attorney may take a few days. Although he qualifies for a public defender, neither the Niagara County Public Defender’s Office nor the County Conflicts Office can represent Depetris because they have “conflicts.”
Niagara County Public Defender David Farrugia says he can’t represent Depetris because one of the lawyers in his office, as part of his private practice, is representing Depetris’ wife in a divorce proceeding.
A representative of the Conflicts Office, which generally handles cases where the public defender has a “conflict”, told County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas that his office could not represent Depetris because two of his lawyers had close ties to his victim’s family.
Depetris told Fakas, again, during a brief hearing Wednesday morning, that he wants to back out of a “last chance” plea offer he took from prosecutors in late January.
The son of the founder of Electrodyn Choke Corp., is facing 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, 44, 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.