Four young men are dead, their families are grieving and the two men linked to their slayings are sitting behind bars after a hellish 96-hour search.
Cosmo DiNardo, 20, of Bensalem, was arraigned Friday afternoon via video from the Bucks County Correctional Facility on four charges of homicide, four charges of conspiracy to commit homicide, three felony robbery charges, three conspiracy to commit robbery charges, four misdemeanor abuse of a corpse charges, four conspiracy to abuse a corpse charges, possession of a weapon and possession of a criminal instrument with intent to use it.
The 20-year-old man DiNardo referred to as his “cousin” – Sean Michael Kratz, 20, of Northeast Philadelphia – was arrested overnight and arraigned Friday with three charges of homicide, three charges of conspiracy to commit homicide, three felony robbery charges, three conspiracy to commit robbery charges, three misdemeanor abuse of a corpse charges, three conspiracy to abuse a corpse charges, possession of a weapon and possession of a criminal instrument with intent to use it.
DiNardo and Kratz were remanded to the jail without bail.
“I think at this stage, the affidavits really speak for themselves,” said First Assistant District Attorney Gregg Shore, who represented the commonwealth at the arraignment.
Jimi Patrick – Last seen Wednesday, July 5
According to prosecutors and a confession from DiNardo, the Bensalem man killed Jimi Patrick, 19, of Newtown Township, on his own with a .22 caliber rifle in a desolate part of the 68-acre DiNardo family farm along Route 202 in Solebury last Wednesday.
DiNardo picked Patrick up from the home he shared with his grandparents in Newtown and drove him to the Solebury farm under the impression of a marijuana deal valued at $8,000 shortly before the killing.
Once at the farm, according to DiNardo’s confession, Patrick said he only had $800 and DiNardo agreed to sell him a shotgun for that amount of cash.
While working through the shotgun deal, DiNardo shot Patrick and buried his body in a hole no deeper than six-feet-deep, according to statements made to detectives.
District Attorney Matt Weintraub said that Patrick’s body was discovered on an area DiNardo described as a “mountain.” He added that the 19-year-old man’s body would still be missing Friday if it were not for DiNardo’s statement.
Dean Finocchiaro – Last seen: Friday, July 7
The last time 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro was seen alive by anyone other than DiNardo and Kratz, he was getting into a vehicle on Hampton Drive in the Langhorne section Middletown around 7 p.m. last Friday. According to prosecutors, DiNardo was behind the wheel and Kratz was in the vehicle with him.
DiNardo told detectives that he agreed to sell Finocchiaro a quarter-pound of marijuana for $700 but then changed his mind during the car ride to Middletown.
The two men took the 19-year-old Neshaminy High School graduate to the DiNardo family farm in Solebury after discussing the idea of possibly robbing him and agreed do it as they drove to Finocchiaro parent’s house, according to court papers.
DiNardo said he, Finocchiaro and Kratz drove around the farm on an ATV and through the woods. After spending some time in a large barn, Kratz used DiNardo mother’s Smith and Wesson .357 handgun to shoot Finocchiaro as he walked to leave the barn.
As Finocchiaro laid lifeless on the ground, DiNardo took the handgun and shot him again, the Bensalem man said.
DiNardo used a tarp from a nearby corn crib and wrapped Finocchiaro’s body. The tarp with the young man’s body in it became stuck on a nail and DiNardo used a backhoe to place it in a metal tank.
Tom Meo and Mark Sturgis – Last seen: Friday, July 7
According to the confessional interview given by DiNardo to investigators, DiNardo had yet another deal set up to deal marijuana to Tom Meo, 21, of Plumstead, later Friday night after Finocchiaro was killed.
DiNardo told Meo to meet him in the stone parking lot next to the church in Peddler’s Village. Police paperwork stated that DiNardo couldn’t find Meo easily but after driving around the well known tourist destination, he located Meo and 22-year-old Pennsburg, Montgomery County, resident Mark Sturgis.
Meo and Sturgis followed DiNardo to 2827 Aquetong Road, a small DiNardo family property with a garage and 19th-century home, where they parked Meo’s car. At that point, the men drove with DiNardo to the Solebury farm where Kratz waited, authorities alleged in court papers.
DiNardo, Meo and Sturgis got out of the car. When Meo turned his back, DiNardo opened fire with his Smith and Wesson .357, shooting Meo in the back. Sturgis realized what was going on and tried to run but was hit before DiNardo emptied his gun, according to DiNardo’s statement to detectives.
“When they turn their backs on me, I shot Tom in the back,” DiNardo said.
After the shooting, DiNardo went to the backhoe to use it to move the remains of Meo and Sturgis.
“DiNardo said he had ran out of ammunition and went to the backhoe. He then drove the backhoe over Meo,” the probable cause affidavit reads.
Meo and Sturgis’ bodies were discovered in a common grave with Finocchiaro’s remains.
Concealing The Three Bodies
Finocchiaro, Meo and Sturgis were killed Friday and dumped in a metal tank that DiNardo told investigators was previously used as a pig roaster.
As DiNardo went to leave, he poured gasoline into the metal tank and lit it to start a fire.
According to Weintraub and police sources, the bodies were not badly impacted by fire as the flames did not last long after DiNardo left the farm that features cornfields, a residence, several buildings and dense woods.
DiNaro and Kratz, according to prosecutors, returned to the 68-acre property on the afternoon of Saturday, July 8. They used the backhoe to dig a trench that was between 12- and 13-feet-deep before burying the metal tank.
The large metal tank was buried in an area off a private gravel road that traverses the DiNardo farm.
Cadaver dogs hit on the spot near a debris pile and some underbrush earlier this week. The hit led detectives and FBI officials to begin digging carefully with the help of Solebury public works employees. Ounce by ounce, soil was sifted through and checked for evidence before law enforcement removed the metal tank and recovered the bodies.
The first body recovered belonged to Finocchiaro and was identified Wednesday night. Weintraub and Middletown Chief of Police Joseph Bartorilla met with the Finocchiaro family to break the tragic news in person before releasing the information to the media.
The other two bodies in the tank were recovered between Thursday and Friday, sources said.
Kratz Becomes A Suspect
Kratz, who works as a tile setter and has been recovering from being shot in spring, became a suspect only after DiNardo made a confession to investigators Thursday.
Police took Kratz into custody at the home where he lived with his mother and stepfather in the 800 block of Magee Avenue in Philadelphia Thursday night.
Bucks County Detectives interviewed the 20-year-old and obtained a search warrant for a property in Upper Dublin, Montgomery County. At the property, investigators listed in court papers that a Smith and Wesson .357 caliber handgun and a 9mm Intratec Luger was recovered.
A police officer was spotted at the home in Upper Dublin using a metal detector.
A neighbor, Bill Hale, said Kratz had shown him before that he had weapons but he did not see the 20 year old regularly.
Details on the previous shooting that injured Kratz were not immediately available.
As of Friday evening, it wasn’t clear what drove DiNardo and Kratz to kill the men, according to prosecutors. However, DiNardo and Kratz are each charged with robbery and plotted to rob Finocchiaro as they headed to his Middletown home.
Kratz Tells a Different Story
When Kratz told his version of events to investigators, there were a few key differences from DiNardo’s Thursday confession.
Upon arriving at the property, DiNardo and Finocchiaro went into the barn, according to Kratz. Kratz heard gunshots and soon saw DiNardo returning to the car where Kratz waited.
In DiNardo’s version of events, Kratz was the one to pull the trigger on Finocchiaro.
Reigning in DiNardo
DiNardo was originally brought into custody Monday under a refiled firearm charge. Only two days later, he made his $1 million bail and was once again in his Bensalem residence on the 900 block of Wayland Circle.
Less than 24-hours after being released on 10 percent of $1 million bail, authorities brought DiNardo back in this time on charges of stealing a car that belonged to Meo. From released court documents, we know that Meo’s car was on the DiNardo property after Meo followed DiNardo.
Inside, officials found Meo’s diabetes kit, which according to family, he never went anywhere without. Meo was not able to survive without this medicine, Weintraub said.
Judge Maggie Snow set DiNardo’s bail at $5 million cash before the state officially charged him with homicide when he was identified as a person of interest.
Bucks County Detectives allege in court papers that DiNardo told them false information Monday afternoon when they spoke with him as part of their investigation into the four missing men.
Prosecutors have said they have no information as of Friday afternoon that any other individuals were involved in the slayings.
They also stated there was no known connection between other missing persons or previous crimes.
Hundreds of Police Involved
Weintraub has stated over the course of the past several days that large numbers of law enforcement and emergency responders have been involved for the investigation, likely one of the largest ever in Bucks County.
From local police to federal agents, all facets of law enforcement have worked at the Solebury property and around the region in other facets of the probe.
As recovery efforts to remove the three bodies from the metal tank continued, the heat and humidity picked up and required special assets to keep those taking part in the recovery cool.
“The heat was incredibly stifling,” Weintraub told reporters Thursday morning. “Our law enforcement brothers and sisters were still working just as hard as when they arrived many days ago.”
Cadets from the Montgomery County Community College Municipal Police Academy combed through the Solebury property, including acres of cornfields assisting investigators to gather evidence. Weintraub noted that cadets just days into their training were working with veteran 40-year police officers.
The district attorney on Friday thanked many agencies for their efforts, his office and the Bucks County Detectives who led the massive investigation that led to four families receiving some measure of closure on what happened to their loved ones.
During arraignment, DiNardo was represented by Michael Parlow. Parlow is the same attorney who has been representing him from the beginning. Parlow is joined by Paul Lang as counsel for DiNardo, who has a history with mental illness.
Kratz explained to judge Snow that he did not have an attorney. During the arraignment, Snow encouraged him to seek counsel given the seriousness of the charges being brought against him.
In a separate case, Kratz was charged last year with burglary for allegedly entering a garage in Philadelphia. The case has not yet made it to trial.
DiNardo and Kratz will be behind bars in separate institutions until their preliminary hearings.
Shore explained the reason is so the two men don’t come in contact with one another.
Preliminary hearings are scheduled for July 31 at 1:30 p.m. at District Judge Maggie Snow’s court in Buckingham.