Cops, Courts and Fire

Jury To Begin Deliberations After Closing Statements In Sean Kratz Trial


Sean Kratz Credit: Bucks County District Attorney’s Office

There was no earthquake at the Bucks County Justice Center in Doylestown Borough as Sean Kratz’s attorney Charles Peruto warned last week.

There was no earthquake at the Bucks County Justice Center in Doylestown Borough as Sean Kratz’s attorney Charles Peruto warned last week.

The ground-shaking event was supposed to be killer Cosmo DiNardo testifying against his third cousin, Kratz, Peruto said in his opening statement.

The prosecution and defense rested their cases on a bitter cold Tuesday before lunchtime.

DiNardo didn’t take the stand. In fact, he never even made to the Justice Center.

As reported on Friday, DiNardo received a subpoena from the prosecution but refused to get on the prison bus to travel to Bucks County. The commonwealth and Peruto both didn’t take any pressing steps to make sure he testified either, according to courtroom testimony from last week and Tuesday.

“Cosmo DiNardo would be here if they wanted you to hear him,” Peruto told the jury.

The prosecution noted that Peruto could have had a judge issued a material witness warrant to compel the 22-year-old imprisoned Bensalem man to attend, but he did not.

In his closing statement, Peruto called DiNardo “disturbed” and a “lunatic.” He laid the blame for the summer 2017 murders 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, solely on DiNardo. Patrick was killed by DiNardo days before the murders of Finocchiaro, Meo, and Sturgis.

Peruto told the jury that whether Kratz, 22, of Philadelphia, was in the picture or not, DiNardo would have killed all the young men on his family’s Solebury farm.

The high-profile Philadelphia defense attorney made the case that Kratz was “scared to death” of DiNardo, who was larger than Kratz and whose family had more money.

“Why would [Kratz] want any of these kids dead? What would he get out it?” Peruto asked the jury.

Despite statements in court last week, Peruto failed to call Kratz’s former attorney Craig Penglase, who leaked DiNardo’s confession tape to a TV station, to the stand.

Kratz himself also declined to testify.

The prosecution’s closing statement by First District Attorney Gregg Shore advised jurors to keep their eye on the ball after Peruto threw out a number of issues.

He highlighted inconsistencies and lies in Kratz’s statements to investigators and hammered on the fact that Kratz didn’t report the murders of the three men before being questioned by county detectives.

Prosecutors have alleged that Kratz shot Finocchiaro in the head inside a barn and helped DiNardo by acting as his lookout for his cousin who violently killed Meo and Sturgis after Finocchario’s death. They told the court that Kratz did nothing as DiNardo attempted to burn the three bodies in a pig roaster and then buried them in a 14-foot-deep hole near a cornfield.

Shore said that Kratz was the judge, jury, and executioner for Finocchiaro.

The veteran prosecutor told the jury Kratz lied about his physical condition following the shooting, viewed porn on his cell phone while the search was on for the missing young men, watched TV coverage of the investigation, and deleted his text messages from around the time of the murder.

“No calls for help,” Shore said.

Kratz, according to Shore, went with DiNardo to get cheesesteaks at Steve’s Prince of Steaks in Northeast Philadelphia and took “blood money” DiNardo gave to him after taking it from the victims following the murders, Shore said. 

The prosecutor displayed the slain men’s photos on the projector in the courtroom as he talked about the hurt the families have experienced over the past 859 days, in part, due to Kratz.

“Their memories must be protected,” Shore told jurors of the victims.

The jurors were asked by Shore to convict Kratz of first- and second-degree homicide, abuse of corpses, and conspiracy for his role in the murders.

Before closing statements, the prosecution had Sturgis’ mom, Aimee King, and Dean Finocchiaro’s father, Anthony, testify about their kids.

Finocchiaro told the court that he went to the Mt. Fuji in the Summit Square Shopping Center in Middletown a little more than an hour before his son got into a pickup truck with DiNardo and Kratz.  The father stated the last thing his son told him was that he would be back in 15 minutes.

King testified how she heard of her son’s death while at the Solebury farm with other families and just wanted to be with his body.

“I was in shock … It’s unbearable,” she sad.

King’s testimony caused one juror to break into tears.

Peruto began his defense after the prosecution rested after several days of testimony.

The defense attorney called up Cosmo DiNardo’s parents, Antonio and Sandra DiNardo. They both testified about how their son and Kratz were not very close until the days leading up to the murders.

Peruto’s line of questioning dealt with DiNardo’s anger, but his parents did not testify that their son was extremely angry or violent. Antonio DiNardo testified that after he pulled up and quickly left the farm with his then-mistress the night of the murders, his son called him angry, but it didn’t stick in his mind as troubling.

Kratz’s sister, Marissa, testified about seeing DiNardo and her brother at her mom’s Philadelphia home following the homicides. She said DiNardo was concerned Kratz had been outside unattended. She testified he made a comment that he didn’t want his cousin to be shot again, which referenced Kratz’s still largely unexplained shooting where he was hit 19 times by gunfire in the city in the months leading up to the Solebury incident.

Peruto’s defense came to a rest less than an hour after it started.

Starting Wednesday, a jury will begin deliberations on the case.

In 2018, Kratz made a stunning decision and turned down a deal that would have sent him to state prison for 59 to 118 years. After 59 years, Kratz would have been eligible for parole. DiNardo pleaded to a deal that included he testify against his cousin and four life sentences.

The ground-shaking event was supposed to be killer Cosmo DiNardo testifying against his third cousin, Kratz, Peruto said in his opening statement.

The prosecution and defense rested their cases on a bitter cold Tuesday before lunchtime. DiNardo didn’t take the stand. In fact, he never even made to the Justice Center.

As reported on Friday, DiNardo received a subpoena from the prosecution but refused to get on the prison bus to travel to Bucks County. The commonwealth and Peruto both didn’t take any pressing steps to make sure he testified either, according to courtroom testimony from last week and Tuesday.

“Cosmo DiNardo would be here if they wanted you to hear him,” Peruto told the jury.

The prosecution noted that Peruto could have had a judge issued a material witness warrant to compel the 22-year-old imprisoned Bensalem man to attend, but he did not.

In his closing statement, Peruto called DiNardo “disturbed” and a “lunatic.” He laid the blame for of summer 2017 murders 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, solely on DiNardo. Patrick was killed by DiNardo days before the murders of Finocchiaro, Meo, and Sturgis.

Peruto told the jury that whether Kratz, 22, of Philadelphia, was in the picture or not, DiNardo would have killed all the young men on his family’s Solebury farm.

The high-profile Philadelphia defense attorney made the case that Kratz was “scared to death” of DiNardo, who was larger than Kratz and whose family had more money.

“Why would [Kratz] want any of these kids dead? What would he get out it?” Peruto asked the jury.

Despite statements in court last week, Peruto failed to call Kratz’s former attorney Craig Penglase, who leaked DiNardo’s confession tape to a TV station, to the stand. Kratz himself also declined to testify.

The prosecution’s closing statement by First District Attorney Gregg Shore advised jurors to keep their eye on the ball after Peruto threw out a number of issues.

He highlighted inconsistencies and lies in Kratz’s statements to investigators and hammered on the fact that Kratz didn’t report the murders of the three men before being questioned by detectives.

Prosecutors have alleged that Kratz shot Finocchiaro in the head inside a barn and helped DiNardo by acting as his lookout following his cousin violently killing Meo and Sturgis after Finocchario’s death. They told the court that Kratz did nothing as DiNardo attempted to burn the three bodies in a pig roaster and then buried them in a 14-foot-deep hole near a cornfield.

Shore said that Kratz was the judge, jury, and executioner for Finocchiaro.

The veteran prosecutor told the jury Kratz lied about his physical condition following the shooting, viewed porn on his cell phone while the search was on for the missing young men, watched TV coverage of the investigation, and deleted his text messages from around the time of the murder.

“No calls for help,” Shore said.

Kratz, according to Shore, went with DiNardo to get cheesesteaks at Steve’s Prince of Steaks in Northeast Philadelphia and took “blood money” DiNardo gave to him after taking it from the victims following the murders.

Shore displayed the slain men’s photos on the projector in the courtroom as he talked about the hurt the families have experienced over the past 859 days, in part, due to Kratz.

“Their memories must be protected,” he told jurors of the victims.

The jurors were asked by Shore to convict Kratz of first- and second-degree homicide, abuse of corpses, and conspiracy for his role in the murders.

Before closing statements, the prosecution had Sturgis’ mom, Aimee King, and Dean Finocchiaro’s father, Anthony, testify about their kids.

Finocchiaro told the court that he went to the Mt. Fuji in the Summit Square Shopping Center in Middletown a little more than an hour before his son got into a pickup truck with DiNardo and Kratz.  The father stated the last thing his son told him was that he would be back in 15 minutes.

King testified how she heard of her son’s death while at the Solebury farm with other families and just wanted to be with his body.

“I was in shock … It’s unbearable,” she sad.

King’s testimony caused one juror to break into tears.

Peruto began his defense after the prosecution rested after several days of testimony.

The defense attorney called up Cosmo DiNardo’s parents, Antonio and Sandra DiNardo. They both testified about how their son and Kratz were not very close until the days leading up to the murders.

Peruto’s line of questioning dealt with DiNardo’s anger, but his parents did not testify that their son was extremely angry or violent. Antonio DiNardo testified that after he pulled up and quickly left the farm with his then-mistress the night of the murders, his son called him angry, but it didn’t stick in his mind as troubling.

Kratz’s sister, Marissa, testified about seeing DiNardo and her brother at her mom’s Philadelphia home following the homicides. She said DiNardo was concerned Kratz had been outside unattended. She testified he made a comment that he didn’t want his cousin to be shot again, which referenced Kratz’s still largely unexplained shooting where he was hit 19 times by gunfire in the city in the months leading up to the Solebury incident.

Peruto’s defense came to a rest less than an hour after it started.

Starting Wednesday, a jury will begin deliberations on the case.

In 2018, Kratz made a stunning decision and turned down a deal that would have sent him to state prison for 59 to 118 years. After 59 years, Kratz would have been eligible for parole. DiNardo pleaded to a deal that included he testify against his cousin and four life sentences.

Previous coverage of Sean Kratz’s trial: 


About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for five years for both newspaper and online publications. In 2012, Tom was honored at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation's Keystone Press Awards for his coverage of President Obama's visit to Falls Township in 2011. When he's not covering news in the area, Tom enjoys checking out the newest restaurants and bars, exploring forgotten places of industry in the area, going to local parks and spending time with his friends and family. If there's one thing you should know about Tom, he is a local news junkie through and through. Email: tom@newtownpanow.com Phone: 215-431-1001