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Appeals court upholds DePetris’ attempted murder conviction

The guilty plea of Timothy C. DePetris, a Niagara Falls businessman who shot his brother-in-law and then tried to hire a hitman to kill him, will stand, an appeals court ruled Friday.

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester unanimously ruled that Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon made no mistake when she refused to let DePetris withdraw his guilty plea to attempted murder and an assortment of other counts. DePetris made that attempt, contending that he was too emotionally upset when he pleaded guilty.

The five-judge appeals panel said Sheldon acknowledged that DePetris was taking antidepressants after being placed in solitary confinement in the County Jail, but she properly determined that he understood what was going on when he pleaded guilty Jan. 29, 2014, and passed up a chance that day to change his mind.

DePetris, 46, is serving a 25-year prison sentence for the March 26, 2013 shooting. He is awaiting sentencing in U.S. District Court on an unrelated bank fraud charge.