Day two of the Sean Kratz trial began with autopsy photos and ended with July 13, 2017 video of the accused killer speaking with Bucks County Detectives.
Kratz, 22, of Philadelphia, looked at the screen as autopsy photos and the video of him talking with detectives in a Northeast Philadelphia interview room were played on a large screen in the courtroom inside the Bucks County Justice Center in Doylestown Borough on Thursday.
Kratz – at times appearing to cry and then quickly speak in a regular tone with little recovery – told detectives that his cousin Cosmo DiNardo killed three young men at his family farm in Solebury but he did not take part
Bucks County Detective Lt. David Kemmerer testified he did not believe Kratz was genuinely crying during the interview, noting how quickly he went from sounding upset to speaking normally.
Kratz said in the video that his cousin was acting strange during the murders and was a “sick monster” who was “raging.”
“He was like crazy and sweating,” Kratz said of DiNardo.
“Relax, Sean, it’s like you’ve never seen a dead body,” Kratz alleged DiNardo said to him as he looked at the evidence of the murders.
Kratz in the video, which contradicts some of the statements DiNardo told police, placed the blame on his cousin for the 2017 murders of Dean Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown; Thomas Meo, 21, of Plumstead Township; and Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg, Montgomery County.
In speaking with the investigators, Kratz said he did not want to get help from authorities after seeing DiNardo commit the murders. He also claimed his cousin threatened to kill him if he mentioned what he saw.
Bucks County Detective David Hanks testified about the means use to recreate and pull together tracking data for the cell phones of the victims and defendants in the case. The data showed DiNardo and Kratz’s phones in the area of the Solebury farm when the murders happened. Surveillance video that matched up with data from the cell phones, including of DiNardo’s large Ford pickup truck cursing through Finocchiaro’s Middletown neighborhood after they picked him up, was played in court.
Catarina Dionisio, a bookkeeper at the DiNardo family’s Bella Trucking, testified that she was the mistress of DiNardo’s father Antonio at the time of the killings. She said the couple pulled up to the driveway of the Solebury property following the murders and quickly left due to seeing there was some sort of activity. She also testified that the couple, who are no longer together, did not see anything suspicious and DiNardo called his dad after, but the conversation didn’t appear strange at the time.
“I didn’t want Cosmo to see me with Antonio,” she told the court as to why they left the property.
Bucks County Detectives Chief Martin McDonough, who was not the chief at the time but was the lead investigator on the case, testified about the “monumental” case. He talked heavily about evidence from the gas-soaked clothing recovered from the three young men’s bodies to the weapons stashed at Kratz and DiNardo’s elderly aunt’s home in Upper Dublin, Montgomery County, following the murders.
While Kratz did use a cane and brace in the summer of 2017, McDonough said it appeared Kratz had little trouble walking as he traversed his aunt’s property and led detectives directly to two guns, including a .357 handgun with a laser sight, that were wrapped in plastic bags and placed in ivy.
A worker at the DiNardo’s concrete business in Philadelphia testified that he watched Kratz, who attorney Charles Peruto Jr. said was “skinny as a rail,” operate a hard-to-use pressure washer following the killing. The statement took aim at Peruto’s claims about Kratz’s physical condition at the time.
Forensic pathologist Ian Hood testified about the manner of death for the three men.
DiNardo, 22, of Bensalem, pleaded guilty last year to four life sentences for his role in the deaths of Jimi Patrick, 19, of Newtown Township, and the three other young men. During Kratz’s trial, DiNardo could testify.