Cops, Courts and Fire

In Surprise Move, Sean Kratz Refuses Plea Deal & Will Now Face Death Penalty

Sean Kratz
Credit: Bucks County District Attorney’s Office

Bucks County prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Sean Kratz for his role in the murder of Dean Finocchiaro and his role following the death of three other young men.

In a move that shocked his attorneys and prosecutors, Kratz rejected a plea deal that would have seen him go to prison for 59 to 118 years. After 59 years, the now-21-year-old defendant would be eligible for parole.

The offer, as outlined by Deputy District Attorney Gregg Shore, saw Kratz pleading guilty to numerous offenses, including homicide for the death of Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown.

The prosecution and defense team worked for a few weeks to put together a deal that they believed was appropriate for Kratz, prosecutors said.

Kratz’s legal team said they had previously discussed the terms of the deal with him.

In a taped video interview, Kratz agreed to the terms and made clear that he understands the terms and is clear of mind. Although this tape was not shown to the court, the recording was submitted to the judge.

Kratz’s attorney, Craig Penglase, explained the terms to Kratz again in court. He reiterated to Kratz that the terms of the deal would not get better.

After Kratz again rejected the deal and decided to opt for a trial, Shore made clear the prosecutions intention to go for the death penalty in the case. During the formal arraignment, prosecutors filed a notice of aggravating circumstances, which opened up the death penalty as an option in the case.

During the post hearing press conference, Weintraub mentioned that DiNardo could be brought in to testify against Kratz during the trial.

“I wish it could have been over today,” said District Attorney Matt Weintraub in a press conference after the hearing.

“We thought it was in everybody’s best interest to resolve both of these cases today,” Weintraub said.

A trial for Kratz may not happen until next year.

“We’re going to keep seeking justice for these four families and these four boys, because that is what we’re sworn to do,”¬†Weintraub said.

Kratz’s hearing was the second of the day. Earlier, Cosmo DeNardo accepted a deal and was sentenced to four consecutive life terms in prison.

About the author

Erich Martin

Erich Martin attended Bucks County Community College for two years where he was the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Centurion, the college newspaper. Erich is currently attending Temple University in order to complete his degree in Journalism. Erich was recognized at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation's Keystone Press Awards in 2014 for general news. In downtime, Erich enjoys spending time with friends and family. Aside from spending time with family and reporting news, Erich loves getting engrossed in a great game, book, or movie.