Philly man pleads guilty to killing four after luring them with weed; accomplice cousin pleads not guilty
21-year-old Cosmo DiNardo was given four life sentences for the murders; his cousin Sean Kratz rejected a plea deal and opted to head for trial
A 21-year-old man was sentenced to life after he pleaded guilty to killing four men after luring them with promise of weed to a farm in Solebury Township in Pennsylvania last year.
The murder of the four young men -- Thomas Meo, Mark Sturgis, Dean Finocchiaro, and Jimi Patrick -- almost a year ago in Bucks County had captured the attention of the region and nation.
On Wednesday, Cosmo DiNardo, a rich Bensalem resident accused in the murders, apologized to the families of the four victims, three of whom authorities said were shot dead and burned in a pig roaster by DiNardo and his cousin, Sean Kratz. The fourth was run over with a backhoe.
Kratz, 21, of Philadelphia, has rejected a plea deal and opted to head to trial.
He also sold marijuana and customized Nike sneakers, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
According to a report by Washington Post citing court records, DiNardo was involuntarily sent to a mental health facility for treatment of schizophrenia in 2016.
He was also banned from his high school and Arcadia College, which he attended for a semester; the reason cited was his strange and aggressive behavior on campus.
He also made bizarre Facebook posts, openly asking for sex and talking about going to taxidermy school.
Eventually, his friends told the Inquirer, he was talking about killing people and being "a savage".
He was also reported declaring on social media, “I am a savage no explanation needed."
He was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences and his cousin Kratz was charged as Dinardo's accomplice and accused of killing one of the men.
He shockingly rejected a plea yesterday and now may face a death sentence.
Ten months later, the police are still clueless about the motive of the killings even after an hour-long confession of DiNardo, excerpts of which were published.
In the confession, DiNardo details the series of events that led and followed the killings. Over the course of three days, DiNardo called four young men to sell marijuana on his farm and killed them as soon as they turned their backs to him.
Two days later on July 7, Dean Finocchiaro came to DiNardo’s farm hoping to buy marijuana from him too.
DiNardo said he shot the men, 21-year-old Meo and 22-year-old Sturgis, as soon as they turned their backs.
Sturgis, DiNardo said, was “such a big kid, I unloaded my gun on him,” instantly killing him. But Meo was lying on the ground screaming, “I can’t feel my legs! I can’t feel my legs!”
But DiNardo ran out of bullets.
So to make the screaming stop, DiNardo said he climbed in his backhoe once again. “You know, he sees that coming and just shuts the …. up, and I just run him over,” DiNardo said.
DiNardo put their bodies in the pig roaster too. He dumped gasoline down the hole and started burning them. Then, NBC 10 reported, the cousins left to get Philly cheesesteak sandwiches.
In court on Wednesday, the victims’ families sat in the courtroom gallery while listening to DiNardo apologize, saying he couldn’t come to terms with what he had done, according to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.
He told the judge that “if there is anything I could do to take it back, I would,” but the judge didn’t want to hear it, neither did the families.
Judge Jeffrey L. Finley called the apology “false and insincere.” “To you, human lives are disposable,” Finley said, according to the district attorney.
Speaking directly to DiNardo, Finocchiaro’s father said he prayed that “Dean’s spirit haunts you the rest of your miserable life,” while Meo’s mother said it was “taking everything in me” not to kill DiNardo at that moment, the Morning Call reported.
Sturgis’s father, Mark Potash, remembered DiNardo’s “savage” posts on social media, posing with guns in the weeks before the murders.
“You think you’re savage?” he asked, as the Call reported. “You’ve lived your whole life protected. In prison, you’ll meet savage. And I promise you, it won’t look like you.”
After Kratz rejected the offer to plead guilty to third-degree murder and related offenses, the state will now pursue first-degree murder and the death penalty.
“Justice is not perfect. Justice has no time limits,” Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said in a press conference. “I’m just as whiplashed as all of you," he said, adding that DiNardo could now testify against his cousin.