Family members of the four young men murdered last summer on a Solebury farm had their chance to speak before the killer.
Following 21-year-old Cosmo DiNardo’s guilty plea and sentencing to four consecutive life sentences, the court allowed the family of Dean Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown; Thomas Meo, 21, of Plumstead Township; Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg, Montgomery County; and Jimi Patrick, 19, of Newtown Township, to read their victim impact statements.
Sharon Patrick, Jimi Patrick’s grandmother, who considered Jimi a son, was the first to offer a statement to the court and President Judge Jeffrey Finley.
“[DiNardo] took Jimi’s life, which means more to us than he can possible understand,” she said.
Sharon Patrick explained that her grandson’s mom is disabled and he was expected to become her caretaker once they were too old to take care of her. The young man’s grandparents are in their 70s.
“Please pray for me,” Sharon Patrick said DiNardo, “that someday I’ll be able to forgive you for what you did to our dear Jimi.”
Jimi Patrick’s grandfather spoke next.
“My wife and I both loved Jimi as our child, and he regarded us as parents,” Richard Patrick said.
Since the crimes, Richard Patrick has had a hard time controlling his emotions, especially when talking about his grandson.
“I cry a lot and try to remember him in happy times,” he said. “I want to get better, but Jimi’s death is always on my mind.”
A number of parents talked about not being allowed to see their sons’ remains and properly say goodbye to them at the funeral homes.
“I am devastated, emotionally destroyed. It will haunt my mind forever,” said Joan Fratanduono, Meo’s grandmother.
“No amount of punishment would be sufficient for what you did,” she said.
“I don’t think you’re capable of understanding our loss,” said Mark Potash, Mark Sturgis’ father.”You’re a perfect example of somebody who started at the top and worked your way down to the gutter.”
“I see through your lies,” Potash directed at DiNardo. “You did it simply because you could … a thrill killing. You know it and I know it.”
“You have the rest of your life to feel pain and live in misery, and that is comforting to me,” Potash finished.
The main thread shared by the majority of the speakers was the the potential that was ripped away from the victims by DiNardo and his cousin Sean Kratz, 21, of Philadelphia. Parents spoke to the judge and DiNardo himself about the victims’ grades, work performance and love lives.
“There is not a day that goes by where I do not cry because Dean is not with us,” said Bonnie Finocchiaro, Dean’s mother. “You not only took his life, but you treated him like trash.”
“I pray that you get what you have given,” she said.
“I stand here half the man I was before this horrible event,” said Anthony Finocchiaro, Dean Finocchiaro’s father.
“I pray that Dean’s spirit haunts you for the rest of your miserable life,” he said.
Meo’s 13-year-old sister, Gabby, was present to speak to the judge as well.
“It is more than what you see on TV or in the news. It is reality, and the reality is sickening,” Gabby said.
Other family members spoke about dealing with the tragedy as it happened. For families who lost their sons, the loss was drawn out and painful.
“This was a slow motion car crash that we had no control over,” James Fratenduono, Meo’s uncle, told the court.
The families experienced a full gamut of emotions while officials searched the Solebury farm as part of the investigation into the men’s disappearance and death. Hope, despair, fear, and other emotions accompanied the panicked family members through the difficult time, Fratenduono said.
“To me, waiving the death penalty was a small price to pay to find all of the boys’ bodies,” he said.
Melissa Fratenduono, Meo’s mother, delivered a fiery statement to the court, letting DiNardo and the judge know what her son, and his loss, meant to her.
“And then he came back after who knows how long and ran him over with a f—— backhoe,” Fratenduono said. “It’s taking everything I have to not f—— kill you right now, you f—— piece of shit,” she said in a burst of anger before apologizing profusely for her language to the judge and those in attendance.
Before his sentence was handed down, the judge addressed DiNardo.
“To you, human lives are disposable,” Finley said. “They have no value.”