1 of 2 cousins pleads guilty to killing, burying 4 men in Bucks County

Cosmo DiNardo pleaded guilty Wednesday in the deaths of four young men found buried on a Bucks County farm.

Jim Melwert
May 16, 2018 - 8:19 am
Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Kratz

Bucks County District Attorney's Office

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DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The two cousins who prosecutors say were behind the four murders on a Bucks County farm last summer were expected to plead guilty today. One of them did — the other backed out at the last minute. 

Cosmo DiNardo, 21, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to four consecutive life terms on Wednesday after he admitted in court to killing Jimi Patrick, Dean Finocchiario, Tom Meo and Mark Sturgis.

The victims, ages 19 to 22, were the subject of a grueling, five-day search last summer that ended when their bodies were discovered on a farm in Solebury Township.

Three of the men had been set on fire and placed 12-feet deep in an oil tank converted into a pig roaster.

DiNardo allegedly lured them to his family's 90-acre farm under the guise of making marijuana deals.

Wearing horn-rimmed glasses and shackled in an orange jumpsuit, DiNardo showed no emotion as the gruesome details of the murder were read to the court or as family members recounted their grief.

In a brief statement, he told the families if he could take it back, he would, adding he hopes they find peace and that he’s genuinely sorry.

The judge told him that he thought the apology was false and insincere.

Vivid descriptions, including one of Meo, already shot, screaming, injured on the ground. DiNardo stood over him and tried to shoot him with a rifle, but the gun wouldn't fire, so he got in a backhoe and ran him over.

After the murders, Dinardo and his co-defendant and cousin went for cheesesteaks, then went home and showered.

Meo's mother, in a flash of anger, turned to DiNardo, cursing at him, telling him it's taking everything for her not to kill him right now, recounting how awful it must have been when her son, already wounded, heard the backhoe driving toward him.

The father of another victim told DiNardo he thinks he's tough, but he'll learn tough in prison, adding he'll take some solace knowing that Dinardo will only leave prison with a toe-tag one way or another.

"Not only are wannabes and cowards like you preyed upon, they’ll know you’re a snitch before you make your bed," he told them.

DiNardo's cousin and co-defendant, 21-year-old Sean Kratz, also was expected to plead guilty. But in a surprise turn of events, Kratz changed his mind and rejected a plea to third-degree murder and other charges that would have offered 59-118 years in prison.

On April 25, Kratz gave a full confession in which he was warned if he changed his mind about his plea, the confession could be used against him.

Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said that plea deal is off the table and they’re prepared to go to trial and seek the death penalty.

He said the only way he would reconsider is if victims of the family asked him to seek a deal.

Weintraub said Dinardo could potentially testify against Kratz at trial.

Attorneys for the victims' families — Thomas R. Kline, Robert J. Mongeluzzi and Carin A. O'Donnell — issued a statement on behalf of their clients: "The families of Dean A. Finocchiaro, Thomas C. Meo and Jimi T. Patrick, while grieving, have satisfaction in knowing that Cosmo DiNardo will be spending his life in jail for the mayhem and murder," it read. "He will be punished for his cowardly behavior, which is necessary retribution for the evil that he committed. The families remain resolute in supporting the prosecution of DiNardo's accomplice Sean Kratz, and will not rest until he is brought to justice."