The two men who have confessed in four grisly killings in Bucks County last summer are expected to enter plea agreements Wednesday, closing a macabre case that gripped the nation and left the largely rural community just north of Philadelphia in a state of shock and grief.
Cosmo DiNardo, 21, is expected to plead guilty to his role in shooting and burying four young men after luring them to his family’s farm property to purchase marijuana. Last year, DiNardo’s lawyers said they reached a deal with prosecutors that spared DiNardo the death penalty in exchange for his confession.
His accomplice, 21-year-old Sean Kratz, who is DiNardo’s cousin, is also set to plead guilty to his part in the slayings in a separate deal.
Bucks County Judge Jeffrey Finley will preside over both hearings in Doylestown. DiNardo’s has been set for 10 a.m., and Kratz will be in court at 2 p.m., according to court records.
Prosecutors have charged DiNardo and Kratz with criminal homicide, robbery, and abuse of a corpse after investigators found three bodies in a single grave on the sprawling property. As part of the agreement he struck with authorities, DiNardo revealed where the body of his fourth victim was buried.
Officials have said the cousins’ exact motives remain fuzzy, but the two enticed their victims to the Solebury farm, shot them, then incinerated three of their bodies in a pig roaster. After that, authorities said, they used a backhoe to dig a 12-foot grave.
The discovery of the bodies came after state and federal officials combed out across the sprawling wooded area around the farm with cadaver-sniffing dogs and heavy digging machinery.
DiNardo is a college dropout with a history of mental illness, including a diagnosis of schizophrenia. DiNardo, who has many interactions with police, also suffered a head injury in an ATV accident a year before the killings, the Associated Press reported. DiNardo previously told investigators he killed all four men. Kratz has said he was present for three of the deaths, but he last year fought the insistence of prosecutors that he had a hand in committing them.
Since their arrest in July, both men have been imprisoned without bail.
At a vigil held shortly after the arrests were announced, Carol Harrison was among more than 1,000 people grieving for the victims. She was a family friend of one of the victims, Jimi Patrick, 19, of Newtown, who went to school with DiNardo at Holy Ghost Prep near Bensalem.
“It’s just been a tragedy,” Harrison said. “And everybody has been involved in the feeling of it.”
The other victims were Dean Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown; Tom Meo, 21, of Plumstead; and Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg.