The two defendants from the summer Solebury multiple-victim homicide appeared in county court Thursday afternoon for their formal arraignment.
Cosmo DiNardo, 20, of Bensalem, was formally arraigned 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. In addition, DiNardo was arraigned on a charge of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.
DiNardo’s cousin, Sean Michael Kratz, 20, of Northeast Philadelphia, was formally arraigned on 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.
Both defendants pleaded not guilty during the arraignment before Bucks County President Judge Jeffrey Finley and were advised of their rights including their right to an attorney.
DiNardo is being represented by attorneys Michael Parlow, Paul Lang and high-powered Philadelphia attorney Fortunato Perri Jr. Perri, who was on Bill Cosby’s legal team during his recent mistrial, recently joined the Bensalem man’s defense team and previously was associated with his parents.
Attorneys Craig Penglase and Niels Eriksen are representing Kratz in the case.
Both sides offered little new information at the formal arraignment that was attended by the media and the family of several victims.
The hearing comes the day after prosecutors filed aggravating circumstances motions that will open the door for the district attorney’s office to go for a capital punishment sentence if the two are convicted of first-degree murder and at least one aggravating circumstance. On Wednesday, District Attorney Matt Weintraub said in a phone interview that the filing was standard and the previously agreed upon deal that would have DiNardo avoiding capital punishment in exchange for cooperation remains in place.
“I think the charges are self explanatory,” Weintraub told reporters following the formal arraignment.
DiNardo was charged in the deaths of Dean Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown; Thomas Meo, 21, of Plumstead Township; Jimi Patrick, 19, of Newtown Township; and Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg, Montgomery County. Kratz was only charged for his alleged role in three of the murders.
“The day of reckoning is coming,” said attorney Tom Kline, of Kline and Spector.
Representing the family of Dean Finocchiaro, Kline told reporters outside of the courtroom in the Justice Center in Doylestown that the Finocchiaro family is in full support of the death penalty in this case.
“If there was ever a case that was tailor made for the definition of aggravating circumstances, then this is that case,” the lawyer said.
Weintraub said the victims’ families, while they have been consulted with throughout this process, are not integral for how the commonwealth seeks justice.
The next step for DiNardo and Kratz occurs in the upcoming weeks when a scheduling conference will be held. According to Weintraub, there is no set date for the trials to begin.