Sus­pect: Four vic­tims came to buy pot

Ad­mit­ted killer’s cousin, 20, also charged with homi­cide in case

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - MARYCLAIRE DALE AND MICHAEL R. SISAK In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by An­thony Iza­guirre of The As­so­ci­ated Press.

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. — A pot dealer gave po­lice a grisly ac­count of the killing of four men on his fam­ily’s Penn­syl­va­nia farm, say­ing he crushed one of them with a back­hoe af­ter shoot­ing him and tried to set three of the bod­ies on fire in the same metal bin, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments filed Fri­day.

Cosmo DiNardo, 20, who grad­u­ated from a Catholic prep school two years ago, said he killed a for­mer school­mate when he ar­rived with $800 to buy $8,000 worth of pot. He said he shot an­other man in the back as he tried to run away. And he pinned one of the deaths on a cousin charged Fri­day in the case, although the cousin told po­lice that DiNardo shot all four of the vic­tims.

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. One man van­ished July 5 and the oth­ers two days later.

Three of the slain men were buried at the farm in an oil tank that had been con­verted into a cooker. The FBI found them Wed­nes­day af­ter four days of me­thod­i­cal hand-dig­ging and sift­ing in a spot on the 90-acre farm that dogs had sniffed out.

Au­thor­i­ties might never have found the fourth body un­less they worked with DiNardo, Bucks County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Matthew Wein­traub said.

“I don’t know what con­vinced him [to con­fess]. I’d like to think he wanted to get these boys home,” Wein­traub said at a news con­fer­ence, ex­plain­ing the sur­prise plea agree­ment forged Thurs­day that led them to the fi­nal body.

DiNardo told po­lice where to find 19-year- old Loy­ola Univer­sity of Mary­land stu­dent Jimi Taro Pa­trick, and he agreed to plead guilty to four counts of first-de­gree mur­der. In ex­change, he will be spared the death penalty.

“We’d still be look­ing for Jimi Pa­trick had we not made this agree­ment,” Wein­traub said. “It was so far away [from the oth­ers on the farm] that I started to get sick to my stom­ach on the ride.”

DiNardo’s his­tory of men­tal ill­ness in­cludes the in­vol­un­tary com­mit­ment, a schizophre­nia di­ag­no­sis and re­peated con­tacts with po­lice. He also suf­fered a head in­jury last year in an ATV ac­ci­dent.

The com­mit­ment meant he was barred from pos­sess­ing guns, but he nonethe­less had one in Fe­bru­ary when po­lice charged him with hav­ing a shot­gun. He also used at least two guns in the slay­ings, in­ves­ti­ga­tors said.

A per­son with first­hand knowl­edge of his con­fes­sion said DiNardo acknowledged sell­ing a va­ri­ety of hand­guns to lo­cal res­i­dents. The per­son spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity on Thurs­day be­cause he was not au­tho­rized to pub­licly dis­cuss de­tails of the case.

DiNardo is charged with four homi­cide counts and 20 other crimes, in­clud­ing abuse of corpse, con­spir­acy and rob­bery. His 20-year-old cousin Sean Kratz faces 20 counts, in­clud­ing three homi­cide counts. Both were be­ing held in jail with­out bail.

DiNardo’s par­ents, who own the farm prop­erty in Sole­bury as well as con­struc­tion and con­crete com­pa­nies in Ben­salem, where they live, de­clined to com­ment Thurs­day when they left a court build­ing af­ter their son con­fessed. Kratz’s mother, Vanessa, de­clined to com­ment on her son ar­rest’s when reached by phone.

Kratz told a judge Fri­day that he had no lawyer. She replied that he should hire one or ap­ply for a pub­lic de­fender.

The other vic­tims are 19-year-old Dean Finoc­chiaro, 22-year-old Mark Stur­gis and 21-year-old Tom Meo. Pa­trick was a year be­hind DiNardo at Holy Ghost Prep School near Ben­salem.

“I’m sorry,” DiNardo told re­porters Thurs­day as he was led into a po­lice van.

AP/MATT ROURKE

Penn­syl­va­nia State Po­lice of­fi­cers walk up a drive­way Fri­day in Sole­bury, Pa., as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of four miss­ing young Penn­syl­va­nia men con­tin­ues.

DiNardo

Kratz

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