LOCKPORT – A judge said today she will rule June 19 on whether she will permit bail for a Niagara Falls businessman charged with attempted murder.
Defense attorney E. Earl Key sought bail for Timothy C. DePetris, the owner of a Niagara Falls business charged with shooting his brother-in-law, the owner of a rival firm.
Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas had ordered DePetris held without bail at his May 16 arraignment, but today Key asked the judge to change her mind and set bail at $50,000.
Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann opposed Key’s request, calling DePetris “a danger to the community, and he does have assets he could liquidate.”
The prosecutor pointed out that DePetris, who had been living in the hotel at the Seneca Niagara Casino before his arrest, “gambled away $1 million at the casino.”
Key had disclosed that figure at the arraignment.
“The purpose of bail is to assure someone’s appearance at court,” Key said. “He has no prior criminal record.”
Hoffmann said she will submit information about DePetris’ finances to the court.
DePetris, 44, formerly of the Town of Niagara, is charged with shooting his brother-in-law, Sandro Viola, at Integrated Controls USA on Hyde Park Boulevard in Niagara Falls about 1:30 a.m. March 26.
When Viola opened the door, he saw two men who said they were delivering a pizza. Viola hadn’t ordered one, and told police that after he said that, one of the pulled a handgun and fired three shots, one of which struck him in the right shoulder.
Hoffmann said at the arraignment that DePetris thought he had been underpaid in a sale of machinery to Viola’s company. DePetris was owner of the now-defunct Electro-Dyn Choke Corp. of Niagara Falls.
Four days after the shooting, DePetris was arrested in a traffic stop. Police said he had a homemade holster around his neck that contained a pistol, and his vehicle contained a loaded, fully automatic rifle and more than 200 rounds of ammunition.
He allegedly had 16 rifle magazines, six of them taped together in pairs.