Tempers flare in courtroom as jury deliberations in Sean Kratz trial spill into day 3

Jim Melwert
November 14, 2019 - 11:58 am
Sean Kratz

Bucks County District Attorney's Office

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UPDATED: 6:45 p.m. 

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — As day two of deliberations in the Sean Kratz murder trial wrapped up, an outburst occurred in the court room as a family member of one of the victims yelled at Kratz. Tempers flared after about 14 hours of deliberations, and the day started with questions from jurors. 

Jurors asked to see the one-and-a-half hour long video of the confession Kratz gave, in which he admitted he shot Dean Finocchiaro in the head at the urging of his cousin Cosmo Dinardo, and he was present when Dinardo killed Mark Sturgis and Tom Meo.

The video was supposed to be part of a plea deal to third-degree murder, but Kratz backed out of the plea at the last minute, even though he was warned it would be used against him if he went to trial.

His current lawyer has asked jurors to ignore the confession video, claiming Kratz was coerced into giving it by his previous attorney. He said at worst this is manslaughter, as Kratz was terrified of Dinardo and thought if he didn’t shoot Finocchiaro, Dinardo would have killed him. 

Related: If convicted, Sean Kratz could face death penalty or life sentence

But prosecutors say it’s premeditated first-degree murder, as Kratz held the murder weapon for more than an hour and a half, and had several chances to escape or call for help but never did.

Jurors also asked for a timeline of events. According to testimony, Dinardo and Kratz hadn’t seen each other in years, but at the urging of his mom, Kratz spent July Fourth with Dinardo in Ventnor. 

On the day of the murders, Dinardo picked Kratz up around 4 p.m. at his aunt's house in Ambler. Around 6 p.m., they stopped at Dinardo’s house in Bensalem to get the gun, then picked up Finnochiaro in Lanhorne around 6:20. They drove up to the farm in Solebury, where they rode ATVs. Then, according to Kratz’s confession, he shot Finnochiaro in the back of the head.

At about that same time, Sturgis and Meo arrived in Peddlar's Village, a few minutes from the farm, and they waited for Dinardo’s call.

Dinardo picked them up around 7:50 and took them back to the farm, where he shot both of them, killing Sturgis, and wounding Meo. Dinardo killed Meo by crushing him with a backhoe.

Around midnight, Kratz and Dinardo got cheesesteaks at Steve's Steaks. Then the next morning, they went back to farm to finish hiding the bodies.

At the end of deliberations, a family member of one of the victims walked up to the divider directly behind the defense table and yelled at Kratz, telling him he’ll burn in hell.

It could be a sign of the tension the loved ones of Finocchiaro, Sturgis and Meo are feeling as jury deliberations spill into a third day, with no clue as to what the jury might be thinking after 14 hours of waiting