Jurors watch hours of Kratz’s recorded interviews, confession he gave to detectives

Jim Melwert
November 08, 2019 - 3:28 pm
Sean Kratz

Bucks County District Attorney's Office

Categories: 

UPDATED: 5:40 p.m.

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — As the trial continues for the man charged with killing three people on his cousin’s farm near New Hope in the summer of 2017, jurors are watching hours of recorded interviews he gave to police in the days after the murders.

In his first statement to police, prosecutors say Sean Kratz lied repeatedly. 

Kratz maintained for much of the interview he had nothing to do with the murders, saying his cousin, Cosmo DiNardo, was lying when he told police Kratz shot and killed Dean Finocchiaro.

And one point during the interview, detectives step out of the room, leaving Kratz alone for more than 10 minutes. Kratz sobs, “What a sick monster” — referring to DiNardo — then adds, “I hate him so much. He ruined my life making me look like I hurt people.”

One of the detectives who questioned him that day testified that Kratz had an answer for everything, and he seemed to know what to answer and what to avoid. He also testified that when Kratz cried, there were never any tears, inferring he was faking it.

At another point, when Kratz references the deal his cousin worked out to avoid the death penalty, detectives tell him DiNardo was able to avoid death row because he told the truth.

After several hours of being interviewed, Kratz asks for his mother. She tells him to tell the truth and not worry about his cousin. In her words, “Save yourself ‘cause he’ll bury you, just like he did to those four boys.”

Detectives repeatedly pressed Kratz on inconsistencies, and he finally changed his story.

Related:

Both DiNardo and Kratz eventually gave full confessions. Kratz's first recorded statement lasted more than three hours. 

In the second recorded interview six months later, in April 2018, Kratz confesses to shooting 21-year-old Finocchiaro in the head, at the urging of DiNardo. He said DiNardo then took the gun and shot him again. 

Kratz said DiNardo put his arm around him, laughed, and said, “What’s the matter, you’ve never seen a dead body before?” 

Kratz also said in the tape that DiNardo called him names, and he was angry that Kratz wouldn’t help him move the body. And, he said, he tried to talk DiNardo out of picking up Mark Sturgis and Tom Meo, two of the four victims.

He went on to describe how DiNardo killed Meo and Sturgis, and that after, the two went out for cheesesteaks. They returned to bury the bodies the next day.

Kratz’s recorded confession was supposed to be a plea deal to third-degree murder, but Kratz backed out of the deal at the last minute. In the beginning of the video, detectives tell him if he doesn’t go through with the plea, they’ll use the confession against him.

Kratz’s current lawyer said Kratz was coerced into making that confession by his lawyer at the time, and he urges jurors to ignore it.

DiNardo previously pleaded guilty to the three murders, plus the killing of Jimi Patrick, a couple days prior to Kratz being interviewed. He’s serving four consecutive life sentences.

In a surprising development late Friday afternoon, a detective said they tried to serve a subpoena on DiNardo, but he refused. He said he refuses to testify against his cousin.

The defense said that was part of the deal, "so can't you grab him by the hair and kick him onto the bus" to the courthouse, said defense attorney Charles Peruto. The detective said he's not going to tell a state correctional institution how to do its job.

Although unorthodox, both DiNardo and Kratz were expected to testify. It remains to be seen what will happen if the defense demands that DiNardo be brought down to testify and how this may affect the deal he has with prosecutors. 

There’s no word if Kratz will still take the stand next week.