LOCKPORT – Lockport attorney George V.C. Muscato and an associate, Brian J. Hutchison, have accepted an assignment from Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas to argue Timothy C. DePetris’ attempt to withdraw his guilty plea to attempted murder. Tuesday, Farkas gave them 30 days to file a written motion on the subject.

DePetris’ former attorney, E. Earl Key, left the case in disagreement with the defendant’s desire to go back on his Jan. 29 plea bargain, which involved admitting that he shot and tried to kill his brother-in-law in Niagara Falls last year in exchange for prosecutors dropping an indictment that accused him of trying to hire a hitman to try to finish off the victim.

Farkas said the matter will be argued June 16, and if she denies the motion, she intends to sentence DePetris that day. DePetris, 45, faces up to 25 years in prison. He has been held in solitary confinement in the County Jail since the hitman allegations surfaced. Muscato said he wants to argue, as Key did unsuccessfully, for DePetris’ release from solitary.

“Just by way of personal observation, his health is deteriorating,” Muscato said.