July 2017 Pennsylvania murders

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Victims
BucksCounty4.jpg
Top Row: Meo and Finocchiaro;
Bottom Row: Patrick and Sturgis
LocationBucks County, Pennsylvania, United States
DateJuly 5–7, 2017
Attack type
Shooting, Murder
Deaths4
Victims
  • Dean A. Finocchiaro, age 19
  • Thomas C. Meo, age 21
  • Jimi T. Patrick, age 19
  • Mark R. Sturgis, age 22

Between July 5 and July 7, 2017, four young men were reported missing in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States. All were subsequently found murdered. The victims were Dean A. Finocchiaro, age 19; Thomas C. Meo, age 21; Jimi T. Patrick, age 19; and Mark R. Sturgis.

The murders were carried out by Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Michael Kratz, both age 20 at the time of the murders.[1] The four victims were murdered in three separate incidents, each after DiNardo arranged to sell them marijuana.[2][1]

Murder victims[edit]

The disappearances began on July 5, 2017, with Patrick being the first of the men to vanish. Two days later, on July 7, Meo, Finocchiaro, and Sturgis were also reported missing. Each of the four men was reported to be murdered the same day he went missing.[3]

  • Jimi Taro Patrick (1998–2017), a rising sophomore majoring in business[1] at Loyola University Maryland,[4] was last seen around 6:00 PM on July 5 in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He failed to show up for work the next day.[5] Patrick met DiNardo that night to buy four pounds of marijuana.[3] At which time DiNardo shot him and then used a backhoe to bury his body.[6]
  • Dean A. Finocchiaro (1997–2017) was last seen around 6:30 PM on July 7 being picked up by an unidentified person, possibly DiNardo or Kratz.[5] His remains were found on July 12, 2017 in a common grave on a Solebury Township farm (owned by DiNardo's parents), along with the remains of Mark Sturgis and Thomas Meo. Finocchiaro's body was the first to be identified.[7] Finocchiaro and DiNardo had a good relationship, with DiNardo saying that they were like cousins.[3] As with Patrick, Finocchiaro had agreed to buy marijuana from DiNardo. This was the first murder in which Kratz was involved; the two men both repeatedly shot Finocchiaro. His body was placed in a metal oil tank that had been converted to a pork roaster.[3]
  • Mark R. Sturgis (1994–2017) went to meet his friend Thomas C. Meo (January 30, 1996 – July 7, 2017) at around 6:00 PM on July 7. Both men worked for Sturgis' father's construction company. The two did not show up for work and calls to their cellphones went directly to voice mail.[5] DiNardo met with Sturgis and Meo at a church to sell Meo marijuana.[3] Meo and Sturgis were both shot as they exited their truck. When he ran out of ammunition, DiNardo drove over the still-alive Meo with a backhoe, then placed both bodies in a metal tank that also held Finocchiaro's body. DiNardo attempted unsuccessfully to burn the bodies using gasoline.[1] He used the backhoe to bury the tank containing the three bodies.[3]

DiNardo, a drug dealer, confessed to killing the four men; he said he did so because he felt cheated or threatened during drug transactions.[8] He also told investigators where to find Jimi Patrick's body, buried in another grave on the property.[6] The only motive disclosed by investigators was that DiNardo said he wanted to set the victims up when they came to the farm to buy marijuana.[9]

Investigation[edit]

On the afternoon of July 8, authorities tracked Finocchiaro's cell phone to a 90-acre (36-hectare) farm[10] in the Solebury Township owned by DiNardo's parents, Antonio and Sandra DiNardo, who also own a cement and construction company.[11]

While being investigated for the four July 2017 Pennsylvania murders, DiNardo also claimed to be responsible for at least two other killings in the previous five years in Philadelphia.[12] Investigators have yet to verify these claims.[13]

Arrests[edit]

Cosmo DiNardo
Born (1997-01-21) January 21, 1997 (age 24)
Criminal chargeHomicide, conspiracy to commit homicide, abuse of corpse, robbery, possession of instruments of crime
Sean Michael Kratz
Born (1997-02-14) February 14, 1997 (age 24)
Criminal chargeHomicide, conspiracy to commit homicide, abuse of corpse, robbery, possession of instruments of crime

Second cousins[1] Cosmo DiNardo (born January 21, 1997) and Sean Michael Kratz (born February 14, 1997), both age 20, were charged in the murders.

On July 10, DiNardo was arrested for an unrelated weapons charge.[5] Despite 30 run-ins with local police, DiNardo, the son of a wealthy businessman, had for unexplained reasons never been convicted of a crime.[14] DiNardo was later released after his father posted 10% of the $1 million bail.[1]

On July 12, DiNardo was arrested and charged for stealing and attempting to sell a car that belonged to Thomas Meo for $500.[15] Suspicion was also raised by the fact that Meo left his insulin in the car, something his family said would have been unusual for him to do.[15] His bail was set at $5 million. The next day, DiNardo confessed to the murder of the four men. In exchange for his confession, prosecutors stated that they would not seek the death penalty.[1]

The day after his confession, DiNardo was charged with four counts of criminal homicide, conspiracy to commit criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse, and 12 other charges.

On July 14, Sean Michael Kratz was also charged with three counts of criminal homicide, conspiracy to commit criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse, and two other charges.[16] Unlike DiNardo, Kratz had a criminal history of burglary, conspiracy, criminal trespassing, theft, receiving stolen property, and criminal mischief.[1]

On May 16, 2018, DiNardo pleaded guilty to four counts of murder and was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.[17][18] Later that day, Kratz rejected a plea deal of 118 years with the possibility of parole after serving 59 years. His trial was scheduled for 2019.[19]

On November 15, 2019, Kratz was convicted of first- and second-degree murder in the death of Dean Finocchiaro and voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of Tom Meo and Mark Sturgis and was later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.[20][21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Levenson, Eric (July 14, 2017). "Cousins charged in homicides of four Pennsylvania men". CNN. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  2. ^ McCrone, Brian (July 14, 2017). "Cosmo DiNardo, Sean Kratz Charged With Allegedly Killing Young Men at Bucks County Farm". WCAU. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Two Men Charged With Homicide in Four Solebury Slayings". Bucks County District Attorney's Office. July 14, 2017.
  4. ^ "The Latest: Maryland campus vigil held for 4 missing men". FOX News. Associated Press. July 12, 2017. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Haag, Matthew (July 10, 2017). "Search in Pennsylvania for 4 Missing Men Focuses on a Vast Farm". The New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Levenson, Eric (July 16, 2017). "10 days of horror: The killings that stunned small-town Pennsylvania". CNN. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  7. ^ Babay, Emily (July 13, 2017). "Bucks County missing men: Who they are". Philly.com. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  8. ^ Gmiter, Tanda (July 14, 2017). "Suspect in Pennsylvania slaying of 4 men burned bodies in a drum after drug deals, source said". MLive.
  9. ^ Dale, Maryclaire; Izaguirre, Anthony (July 14, 2017). "Source: Cosmo DiNardo said he had accomplice in killing of 4 in Bucks". Delaware County Daily Times. Archived from the original on July 14, 2017.
  10. ^ Parker, Graham (July 13, 2017). "Man admits to killing four youths who went missing in Pennsylvania". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  11. ^ Chavez, Nicole; Levenson, Eric; Woolsey, Anne; Grinberg, Emanuella (July 13, 2017). "Lawyer: Man admits involvement in murders of 4 missing men". CNN. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  12. ^ Holden, Joe (July 17, 2017). "Sources: Cosmo DiNardo Confesses To 2 Other Killings". KYW-TV. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  13. ^ Bacon, John (July 18, 2017). "Pennsylvania murders: Did pot dealer kill any others?". USA Today. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  14. ^ Hurdle, Jon (July 13, 2017). "Man Admits to Killings of 4 Missing Men in Pennsylvania, Lawyer Says". New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  15. ^ a b O'Malley, James (July 13, 2017). "Cosmo DiNardo defense attorney says client confessed to 'participation in murders of four young men'". Bucks County Courier Times. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  16. ^ McCausland, Phil (July 14, 2017). "Cosmo Dinardo, Sean Michael Kratz Charged With Killing Four in Pennsylvania". NBC News. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  17. ^ Holden, Joe (May 16, 2018). "Sean Kratz Rejects Plea Deal, Cosmo DiNardo Pleads Guilty To Murder Charges In Deaths Of 4 Men". KYW-TV. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  18. ^ McCrone, Brian; Lozano, Alicia Victoria (May 16, 2018). "1 Bucks County Killer Pleads Guilty, Another Could Face Death Penalty for Murder Spree". WCAU. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  19. ^ McCarthy, Erin (July 31, 2018). "Families of Cosmo DiNardo's victims stand with lawmakers pushing for tougher gun laws". Philly.com. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  20. ^ "Sean Kratz Sentenced To Life In Prison Without Parole After Bucks County Prosecutors Take Death Penalty Off Table". CBS Philly. November 18, 2019. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
  21. ^ "Prosecutors Won't Seek Death Penalty Against Sean Kratz After Conviction for 2017 Bucks Co. Farm Slayings". NBC Philadelphia. November 18, 2019. Retrieved November 19, 2019.

External links[edit]