Both Pennsylvanians, Kratz and DiNardo, are now charged with homicide, court records show. DiNardo is charged in all four murders, and Kratz in three. Court documents allege that DiNardo says Kratz shot one of the victims, Dean Finocchiaro, in the head after a drug deal morphed into a robbery plot in a rural barn, although Kratz blamed DiNardo for the homicide. The pair then allegedly threw Finocchiaro into a metal tank that DiNardo referred to as “the pig roaster.”
You can read the full complaints below. Be warned that they contain additional disturbing details. The charging documents allege that the other three men were also slain after drug deal set ups, with DiNardo running over victim Tom Meo with a backhoe after he ran out of bullets.
Kratz was out on bail on a burglary accusation and was recovering from injuries sustained when he was shot.
The four men, Jimi Patrick, Mark Sturgis, Dean Finocchiaro, and Tom Meo vanished on different days from July 5-7 in Bucks County. They were all between the ages of 19 and 22, and their disappearances galvanized the community and ignited a massive search effort. All victims have now been identified, the DA revealed in a July 14 press conference.
“Our boys get to go home to their families, which was always our first priority,” the DA said. You can watch the press conference here.
Cosmo DiNardo, 20, another Bucks County man from Bensalem, Pennsylvania, confessed to participating or committing all four slayings, his lawyer told the Pennsylvania news media. That led to the immediate question as authorities continued the grim task of identifying remains unearthed in a common grave: If he might have just participated, according to his lawyer, was someone else involved? Authorities now allege that Sean Kratz was DiNardo’s accomplice.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kratz Is Accused of Scheming to Rob One of the Missing Men Before Shooting Him on a Barn Floor
Court documents paint a chilling scene of how one of the men, Finocchiaro, died while lying facedown on a barn floor after Kratz allegedly decided to rob him.
The District Attorney has hit Kratz with a string of severe charges, ranging from homicide to abusing a corpse. Pennsylvania court records indicate that Kratz was only charged in three of the murders. The DA said two weapons have now been recovered.
The DA, Matthew Weintraub, also said that the bodies of Finocchiaro, Sturgis and Meo were found in an old oil tanker. Patrick’s body was recovered elsewhere on the “top of a mountain,” Weintraub said.
Chilling details are emerging in the court documents.
The documents allege that DiNardo gave Kratz a Smith and Wesson 357 handgun that belongs to his mother. All three drove to 6071 Lower York Rd. “Dinardo said they drove around the property on his ATV and that Kratz was going to rob Finocchiaro in the woods,” the documents allege. “He said Kratz did not rob Finocchiaro in the woods and they went into the barn. As they were leaving the barn, Kratz shot Finocchiaro in the head. DiNardo took the gun from Kratz and also shot Finocchiaro while he was laying face down on the floor, but claimed Finocciaro was already dead when he shot him.”
The documents allege that DiNardo “took a blue tarp from the corn crib and wrapped Finocchiaro in it. He tried to drag Finocchiaro out of the barn on the side facing the corn crib. The tarp got stuck on a nail so he had to use the backhoe to remove him from the barn. He placed Finocchiaro into a metal tank he referred to as the pig roaster.”
Here’s the DiNardo complaint in full, per the Buck County District Attorney’s office:
DiNardo is accused in the court documents of saying that he also had a “deal” set up with one of the other victims, Tom Meo, the same night that Finocchiaro died. “He was going to sell marijuana. He told Meo to meet him in the stone parking lot next to the church in Peddlers Village,” the court documents say. “DiNardo could not initially find Meo and drove through Peddlers Village trying to find him.” He found Meo in a car with Sturgis, the third victim, and directed him to follow him and park his vehicle. “Meo and Sturgis got into DiNardo’s truck and they drive to 6071 Lower Rd, where Kratz was waiting,” the documents allege
After the men exited the truck, Dinardo said, “he shot Meo in the back with the .357 handgun, then fired several times at Sturgis as he fled, felling him,” the affidavit states. “Dinardo said he then ran over Meo with the backhoe before using it to lift both bodies into a metal tank where he already had placed Finocchiaro’s corpse, the court records say.”
The following day, Dinardo told police, “he and Kratz returned to the property, where Dinardo used the backhoe to dig a deep hole and bury the tank containing the three bodies,” the affidavit says. Kratz gave a similar statement to detectives on Thursday night, the affidavit says, but said that it was “Dinardo who shot Finocchiaro, not him,” the complaint alleges.
As for the fourth victim, Patrick, the complaint alleges that, on July 5, DiNardo agreed to sell Jimi Patrick four pounds of marijuana for $8,000. He picked Patrick up at his home in Newtown and drove him to a rural property.
“When they arrived, DiNardo said Patrick only had $800. DiNardo told Patrick he could sell him a shotgun for $800. DiNardo took Patrick to a remove part of the property and gave him a shotgun. DiNardo then shot and killed Patrick with a .22 caliber rifle,” the complaint alleges.
“DiNardo drove a backhoe to where he had killed Patrick and dug a hole and buried him,” the complaint alleges. Kratz is not accused in the Patrick homicide.
The Kratz complaint further accuses DiNardo of saying of the Meo and Sturgis murders, “When they turn their backs on me, I shot Tom in the back. He collapsed to the ground and was screaming.” Sturgis started to run away.
DiNardo alleged that he started shooting at Sturgis, and Sturgis was struck and fell to the ground, but DiNardo ran out of ammunition and went to the backhoe. “He then drove the backhoe over Meo,” the complaint alleges.
He put them both in the same metal tank as Finocchiaro and poured gasoline into the metal tank, according to the documents, which allege that, on July 8, Kratz and DiNardo returned to the property, and DiNardo allegedly used the backhoe to dig a hole and buried Finocchiaro, Meo and Sturgis in it. DiNardo allegedly gave a revolver and tec 9 to Kratz.
The first bombshell, and very tragic, development occurred when the District Attorney of Bucks County convened an unusual midnight news conference. In it, he revealed that authorities had found the 12.5 foot deep common grave on a rural farm that belongs to the parents of DiNardo, a diagnosed schizophrenic with a troubled past who knew the four missing men at least tangentially through school and Facebook. The DA, Weintraub, also announced that authorities had ID’d Dean Finocchiaro, one of the missing men, through the recovered remains.
The DA said then that it was believed that other bodies were in the grave, but they hadn’t been identified yet. Cadaver dogs led police to the grave.
Then, on July 13, Cosmo DiNardo’s lawyer told the media that DiNardo confessed to avoid the death penalty. DiNardo himself mumbled that he was “sorry” as waiting reporters shouted questions. However, the way the defense attorney worded things raised some eyebrows. He said that DiNardo confessed to “participation or commission” in the slayings, according to Philly.com.
The developments were still coming. According to Fox News, “The Associated Press, citing a person with firsthand knowledge of his confession, reported the DiNardo had a co-conspirator.”
By late Thursday evening of July 13, Kratz was also in custody, and police were searching his Ambler, Pennsylvania residence by July 14.
Here are photos of that search:
He was socked with a homicide charge later in the day.
2. Sean Kratz Recently Survived Being Shot Six Times & Pinned the Blame for the Bucks County Murders on DiNardo
Sean Kratz recently survived a shooting, according to Fox 29. FOX 29’s Dave Scratwieser reported that the second person of interest “has a criminal record, including two drug arrests in Bensalem. Schratwieser also reports that person of interest was the victim of a shooting back in March.” Bensalem is the hometown of DiNardo.
Steve Keeley of Fox29 tweeted, “2nd man in custody in Bucks County murders, Sean Kratz, 20, just survived being shot 6 times in Philadelphia in March.”
Kratz’ family told Keeley that Kratz still has injuries from being shot.
Kratz’ version of the Bucks County murder story is also recounted in the charging documents. They allege that Kratz said:
On July 5, he was with DiNardo when they picked up Finocchiaro. Kratz’ account also says he and Dinardo discussed robbing Finocchiaro, the documents allege.
“After they arrived, DiNardo and Finocchiaro went into the barn. Kratz said he heard gun shots from the barn and then DiNardo returned to the truck,” the documents say Kratz told police.
The documents allege that Kratz claimed that DiNardo wrapped Dean in a blue tarp and then “used the backhoe to place him into a metal tank and lit him on fire.”
He allegedly told police that DiNardo said he “has two more kids” coming to the property to buy pounds of marijuana and they discussed robbing them.
As to the Sturgis and Meo shootings, Kratz alleged that they were talking about the marijuana sale when “DiNardo used the handgun to shoot Meo in the back and he fell to the ground. He then shot Sturgis. Kratz said Meo was screaming at Dinardo.” He said DiNardo used a 22 caliber rifle “and finishes him off.”
Kratz is accused of saying that DiNardo used the backhoe to load Meo and Sturgis into the metal container that was burning along with leaves. He said that DiNardo “basically crushes him,” referring to Meo and the backhoe. Kratz directed police to a home where two weapons were found, police said in the affidavit.
One reporter tweeted that he was outside a Philadelphia house where the alleged co-conspirator was taken into custody late on July 13. Kratz “has listed home addresses in Northeast Philadelphia and Ambler, Montgomery County,” reports Philly Voice.
Property records show that a family lives on that block that has ties to DiNardo. Multiple members of the family are his Facebook friends, for example, and both family names come up in an obit of the family patriarch.
Reporter Dave Kinchen, of Fox29, reported on Twitter, “BREAKING: I’m live in NE Philly where a second person of interest has been taken into custody in connection to the #missing4 deaths.”
Fox News reported, “A second person of interest was taken into custody late Thursday in the investigation into the gruesome murders of four men on a secluded farm in Pennsylvania.”
At first, it was reported that authorities just wanted to question Kratz in connection with the homicides.
According to Fox29, reporting in the early morning hours of July 14, “The person of interest is currently at Northeast Detectives being held for Bucks County authorities to pick up and question.”
News spread quickly about the second arrest.
“Police took another person into custody late Thursday night in the 800 block of Magee Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia,” Philly.com reported.
3. Sean Kratz Was Accused of Several Philadelphia Burglaries & Was Out on Bail
Kratz has a lengthy criminal history, including an open burglary case.
Sean Kratz “was out on bail for burglary, criminal trespassing, theft and other charges stemming from two pending burglary cases in Philadelphia courts. In March, he posted 10 percent of $10,000 bail,” reports Philadelphia Magazine.
Philly.com reports that Kratz “was implicated twice last year in connected burglary cases in Philadelphia.”
Kratz has two open burglary cases; in June of 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,” court records show, according to Philly.com.
In February, the newspaper reported, he was accused of “breaking into the home of the witness in the previous case and stealing several items of jewelry.”
In addition to the Philadelphia cases, court records show Montgomery County cases for retail theft.
What led to the homicides? Despite the bizarre and horrific saga, it may end up being the most banal of motives: Drugs.
The Associated Press is reporting 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.”
“Every death was related to a purported drug transaction, and at the end of each one there’s a killing,” the AP quoted an anonymous source. Authorities have not yet confirmed this account.
The charging documents bear out a drug motive but say it switched to robbery.
The charging document alleges that DiNardo “agreed to sell Finocchiaro ¼ pound of marijuana for about $700. DiNardo picked up his cousin Sean Kratz and they drove to Finocchiaro’s home. During the ride to Finnochiaro’s the two decided not to sell marijuana to Finocchiaro. Instead they discussed and agreed to rob Finocchiaro.”
DiNardo had an exceptionally troubled past; Diagnosed as schizophrenic, he was previously committed to a mental institution. Friends alleged he talked about killing people, liked guns, was known to police, and was unstable. He’d also suffered a recent head injury that some felt worsened his condition.
DiNardo was already under arrest and accused of charges that he tried to sell the car of Meo, one of the missing men. DiNardo was previously accused of a firearms offense, but he was released on $100,000 bail. His bail in the more recent case was set at $5 million. Police had said previously that they were searching multiple locations for the missing Bucks County men. Then came news that the remains were found.
The break in the case came when a man identified only as KBM told police that on July 8, he “received a call from DiNardo offering to sell him Meo’s car for $500.”
4. A Neighbor Called Kratz a ‘Nice Kid’ & There Was an Attempt to Burn the Bodies
The grisly details are horrifying. According to The Associated Press, in his confession, DiNardo allegedly revealed that he killed each man separately and then burned the bodies. In the press conference, the DA said there was an “attempt to burn the bodies” and obliterate them, but it was not successful.
In contrast, a neighbor described Kratz to reporter Erich Martin as a “nice kid to talk to.”
The alleged plot unraveled when DiNardo confessed to the crimes.
“Mr. DiNardo this evening confessed to the district attorney to his participation or commission in the murders of the four young men,” his lawyer, Paul Lang, told reporters. “In exchange for that confession, Mr. DiNardo was promised by the district attorney that he will spare his life by not invoking the death penalty.”
Lang said “I can’t answer that” when reporters queried whether DiNardo acted alone or had a co-conspirator.
Philly.com reported that DiNardo confessed that three of the victims were in the common grave, and the other was somewhere on his family’s property.
The Philadelphia newspaper reported, through a source, that, in his confession, DiNardo said he had a co-conspirator. At least three of the men were shot, reported The AP.
The District Attorney previously revealed, “This is a homicide, make no mistake about it. We have found human remains. In an approximately 12 and a half foot deep common grave that we have painstakingly dug with a lot of care so as not to damage any potential evidence. I’m very, very sad to say that we can now identify Dean Finocchiaro, 19-years-old…as one of the people who was found buried in that grave.”
In the press conference, the DA also revealed: “There are additional human remains inside that grave. So this painstaking process will go on.”
5. The Four Missing Men Were Described in Positive Terms by Families & Friends
Jimi Taro Patrick was a former youth athlete who was attending Loyola University in Baltimore on a full scholarship.
Mark Sturgis and his friend, Tom Meo, worked for Sturgis’ family construction business doing landscaping. Sturgis was remembered for his sweet demeanor.
Dean Finocchiaro was friends with at least two of the men.
This post will be updated as more information is learned about the second person of interest.