LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Erie County District Attorney is still determining whether to charge the man who shot and injured a Buffalo Police officer six years ago with murder.
Patty Parete died in North Tonawanda this past Saturday from complications as a result of being shot six years ago while responding to a fight call on West Chippewa Street in Buffalo. The Niagara County Medical Examiner's Office has now ruled her death a homicide because Parete died as a result of the wounds she received in that incident, which left her paralyzed. The Erie County Medical Examiner's Office has also ruled Parete's death a homicide.
Click the image below to see the road closures for Parete's funeral on Wednesday:
DA Frank Sedita tells News 4 he has not yet made a decision on whether to try Varner Harris, the man who shot Parete and Officer Carl Andolina, with murder. Harris is currently not eligible for parole until 2040 after being sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for first degree attempted murder.
Sedita says his office has already fought four appeals by Harris. The DA says there is a concern that a judge could give Harris less prison time, even if he is tried for murder.
"Even if I were to convict him after trial, the judge could impose a lesser sentence such as 20 [years] to life or 25 [years] to life instead of the 30 [years] to life sentence he currently has," Sedita explained. "And of course, there's always the chance that he could have an acquittal."
Sedita plans on speaking with Parete's family after they've had ample time to grieve to gauge their feelings on how to proceed.
"The thing that weighs most heavily in this decision making process is what the feelings of the family are going to be," Sedita said.
Parete's funeral is Wednesday, February 6 at 11 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 371 Delaware Avenue. For more information go to Book of Memories for Patty Parete.
Andolina released a statement on Parete's passing:
"The events of December 5, 2006 were tragic on many levels. Now is not the time to re-live the incident which shattered Patty Parete's life. It should however be a time to celebrate Patty's time with us and embrace her family and friends in love and support.
"Patty spent the last six years fighting every day. She was and always will be an inspiration to everyone she touched.
"In this reflective time I join with my family in thought and prayer for Patty, her family, and friends. I would also like to thank the Western New York community for their amazing support for Patty during the struggles she faced.
"May God bless her and give her strength to her loved ones - and may no one among us forget her service and sacrifice."
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