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

Jim Melwert
November 13, 2019 - 12:03 pm

UPDATED: 5:52 p.m.

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The fate of Sean Kratz is in the hands of a Bucks County jury. Kratz is accused of killing and robbing three men on his cousin’s farm near New Hope in July 2017. 

Related: In closing, defense argues Kratz acted out of fear; prosecutors call it cold-blooded murder

The jury started deliberating around 11 a.m. Wednesday and wrapped after 5 p.m. Jurors said they will continue to deliberate Thursday morning.

Jurors asked a series of questions over the course of the day, like if they could convict Kratz on multiple counts of murder, and if they could convict him both of first- and second-degree murder. The answer to both questions was yes.

Jurors also asked the judge why Kratz didn’t take a plea deal for third-degree murder. The judge told them that is not for their consideration.

Kratz is charged with three counts of criminal homicide in connection with the murders of Dean Finocchiaro, Mark Sturgis and Tom Meo. He’s also charged with conspiracy, three counts of robbery, and three counts of abuse of a corpse.

Under criminal homicide, Kratz could be convicted of anything from first-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter. If convicted of first-degree murder, he could face the death penalty or a mandatory life sentence — which is determined by the same jury.

Kratz could also face mandatory life in prison for second-degree murder, also known as felony murder, meaning when someone is killed during the commission of another felony — in this case, the robbery of the three men.

Kratz gave a full confession where he said he fired a shot into Finocchiaro’s head, then witnessed his cousin, Cosmo DiNardo, kill Sturgis and Meo. The confession was part of a plea deal to third-degree murder, which Kratz backed out of at the last minute.

Kratz’s attorney, Charles Peruto, told the jury that Kratz shot Finocchiaro because he was terrified of his cousin and feared for his own life. Thus, he argued the worst Kratz should get is voluntary manslaughter.

But prosecutors countered, saying Kratz held the gun for nearly two hours before Finocchiaro was murdered, and he had multiple chances to ask for help. He was also alone on an ATV with Finocchiaro and could have driven him off the farm to get help.

They also noted during the 96 hours when the families were praying for answers and searching for the men, Kratz was looking online at sneakers and porn. The two cousins took money from the men and then went out to get cheesesteaks.

DiNardo pleaded guilty last year and is serving four consecutive life sentences.