LOCKPORT - Timothy C. DePetris, the Niagara Falls businessman who shot his brother-in-law after a business dispute, was sentenced today to 25 years in state prison for attempted murder.
Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann disclosed in court that DePetris also had gone to home of another man within a few days of the shooting in an apparent attempt to kill another indiviudal.,
“He was after anyone who did him wrong,” Hoffmann said. “Thank goodness that man never answered the door.”
Sandro Viola, 56, did and was shot in the right collarbone.
“Tim DePetris came in the dark of night to murder me in a planned, thought-out scheme,” he said.
Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas imposed the maximum sentence for DePetris’ guilty plea to attempted murder. She rejected his new court-assigned attorney’s argument that DePetris’ mind was warped by months in solitary confinement and that his guilty plea should have been disallowed.
Farkas had ordered DePetris placed in isolation in the Niagara County Jail a year ago after he allegedly used jail phones to try to hire a hitman to kill Viola, as well as a witness who turned state’s evidence against DePetris.
That second indictment regarding the hit man was formally dismissed today as part of the Jan. 29 plea deal that DePetris sought to have canceled. His move to try to rescind his plea led the attorney who worked out the arrangement, E. Earl Key, to drop DePetris as a client.
Police said DePetris, 45, and the accomplice, posing as pizza delivery men, went to Viola’s office at 1:30 a.m. March 26, 2013. When Viola opened the door, DePetris fired three shots from a handgun, striking his brother-in-law once in the shoulder.
Prosecutors have argued that DePetris, owner of the former Electro-Dyne Choke Corp. in Niagara Falls, shot Viola because he believed he was underpaid for equipment he had sold to Viola’s company.
DePetris, who had been living in the hotel at the Seneca Niagara Casino in the Falls as a member of its high-rolling Chairman’s Club, was arrested four days after the shooting when Niagara Falls Detective Patrick Stack, checking the casino parking lot for DePetris’ truck, tailed it into inner-city Niagara Falls. Stack pulled the purple pickup over after seeing it stop when a woman ran out of a house and exchanged something with the driver.
DePetris, the passenger, readily identified himself. Stack said he found a handgun hanging from a homemade holster around DePetris’ neck, and a cache of about 200 rounds of ammunition, including magazines of bullets taped together.