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News Story
Updated: 07/15/2017 01:19:01AM

Cousins formally charged in slayings of 4 Pennsylvania men

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By LAURA MCCRYSTAL, JEREMY ROEBUCK and JUSTINE MCDANIEL

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PHILADELPHIA — Cosmo DiNardo, the Bucks County man who confessed to the slayings of four missing men and burying them on his family estate, was charged Friday — along with his cousin as an accomplice — with counts of conspiracy, homicide and abuse of a corpse as investigators in the rapidly moving probe shifted focus to Northeast Philadelphia and an address in Montgomery County.

Detectives arrived in force to search a house on Susquehanna Avenue in Ambler that DiNardo’s purported co-conspirator — Sean Kratz, 20, of Philadelphia — had listed as his address. Their arrival came just hours after authorities took Kratz into custody at a Northeast Philadelphia home late Thursday night.

Though Kratz was charged alongside DiNardo with three of the killings, according to court filings, authorities have offered no indication so far of how he is tied to the case — nor have they confirmed a statement from DiNardo’s lawyer Thursday that his client had confessed to the killings.

The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office said in a tweet Friday morning that officials would offer details at a 2 p.m. briefing on the “Solebury slayings.”

A source familiar with the case told the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News late Thursday that it was DiNardo who led investigators to Kratz and the bodies of the four young men who had been missing since earlier this month. In exchange for the confession, DiNardo’s lawyer Paul Lang told reporters, prosecutors promised not to seek the death penalty against his client. Asked Friday about the charges filed in the case, Lang declined to comment.

Both are expected to be arraigned later Friday afternoon in a court hearing that could shed new light on a case that has gripped the Philadelphia region and much of the country since the massive search for the missing men began Sunday and eventually zeroed in on the DiNardo family’s bucolic Solebury Township estate.

Late Wednesday, Weintraub said investigators had found remains of Dean R. Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown, who disappeared July 7, in a common, 12 1⁄2-foot grave on the DiNardo’s property. A source familiar with DiNardo’s confession said that the bodies of Thomas C. Meo, 21, of Plumstead; Mark R. Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg; and Jimi Taro Patrick, 19, of Newtown, also were buried on the property.

When he was taken into custody, Kratz was out on bail for separate charges, with two pending burglary cases in Philadelphia courts. In one, he was charged with burglary, criminal trespassing, theft, receiving stolen property and other charges relating to an alleged December 2016 incident. He posted 10 percent of $10,000 bail in March.

In May, his last scheduled hearing was postponed because he had “medical issues,” according to court records.

On Thursday, his attorney was in Philadelphia court to request a continuance for further investigation in that case. “Defense: Not ready, case listed for status,” reads the court filing. Kratz was present and signed a subpoena. His next court date was set for August 4.

Kratz was implicated twice last year in connected burglary cases in Philadelphia.

In June 2016, surveillance video caught him and an accomplice breaking into a shed on a property on the 6400 block of Dorcas Street and walking away with a leafblower, weed whacker and a box containing tools, all valued at $1,000, according to the probable cause affidavit filed for his arrest. The homeowner later posted the video to his Facebook page, where a witness — whose neighbor was dating Kratz at the time — identified him in the footage, the document states.

Kratz was arrested on June 20 that year and released on bail. But within seven months he was back in police custody again.

Detectives arrested him in February this year for breaking into the home of the witness in the previous case and stealing several items of jewelry. Investigators later determined that Kratz had sold the pieces for $345 at a resale shop.

Both cases remain open.

In addition, court records show that in December 2016, Kratz was charged with retail theft and related charges in Montgomery County. The case was marked closed in court filings.

The Associated Press reported late Thursday that DiNardo sold quarter-pound quantities of marijuana for several thousand dollars and that the victims were killed after DiNardo felt cheated or threatened during three drug transactions. The wire service cited an unidentified source with knowledge of the confession who said DiNardo admitted he killed the men separately — at least three were shot — and then burned their bodies at the farm.

“Every death was related to a purported drug transaction, and at the end of each one there’s a killing,” the person said, according to the AP.


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