Families of murdered Bucks County victims sue parents of confessed killer and his cousin

Sharon Patrick and Melissa Fratanduono-Meo

Sharon Patrick, legal guardian of Jimi Patrick, (front) Melissa Fratanduono-Meo, (back left) mother of Thomas Meo, and her brother James Fratanduono share their grief with the media at a press conference. Patrick and Meo were two of the four young men murdered on a Bucks County farm in 2017. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Families of three of the four young men murdered on a Bucks County farm last summer are suing the confessed killer, Cosmo DiNardo, as well as his cousin and co-defendant Sean Kratz.

The separate, but related complaints filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Monday also target DiNardo’s parents and their construction-related businesses. Attorneys for the families say they also bear responsibility for the young men’s deaths because they gave their son access to the materials used to carry out the killings, including a gun that belonged to DiNardo’s mother.

“This is a case which is in the news for reasons due to its grisly and horrible nature,” said Tom Kline, a lawyer for the family of 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro. “But make no mistake about it — this is a case about a mentally ill individual who had access to instrumentalities of death and mayhem.”

At a news conference, Bob Mongeluzzi, lawyer for the family of 21-year-old Tom Meo, said the families asked them to advocate for keeping guns out of the hands of people with mental illness.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“Mentally disturbed citizens and guns do not mix,” said Mongeluzzi.

Mongeluzzi said DiNardo’s parents involuntarily committed their son to a mental institution one year before murders. According to the lawsuit, DiNardo was also banned from his former high school and Arcadia University, and had more than 25 run-ins with local police, including weapons charges.

“There is no greater loss than a parent whose child has been taken from them especially in such tragic and horrific circumstances,” said Mongeluzzi. “They want to know what happened. They want to know how Cosmo DiNardo had access to these weapons and how this was able to occur.”

(From left) Jimi Patrick, 19, Dean Finocchiaro, 19, and Thomas Meo, 21, were murdered in July, 2017. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Over three days in July 2017, the four young men — Finocchiaro, Meo, 22-year-old Mark Sturgis, and 19-year-old Jimi Taro Patrick — disappeared. An investigation by the FBI and local police zeroed in on a property owned by DiNardo’s parents on Lower York Road in Solebury Township, where the victims’ bodies were later recovered.

DiNardo confessed to the four killings, but later he and Kratz both pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including homicide. Their criminal trial is set for Nov. 7.

Attorneys for DiNardo and his parents could not be immediately reached for comment.

The families of three of the victims also spoke about the horror and tragedy they’ve experienced and reminisced about their loved ones.

“Anyone could tell you he was an awesome person to be around, a huge heart and would do anything for you if asked. It didn’t matter how big or small it was,” said Bonnie Finocchiaro of her son Dean. “For us as a family, it’s a great loss. Nobody should ever have to deal with losing their child and not in the way he was taken.”

Sharon Patrick, Jimi’s grandmother, spoke of caring for him since birth and their strong bond.

“Jimi was the love of my life. He was my soulmate. He was a great kid,” she said.

Patrick recalled seeing him for the last time before he left that fateful night.

“I was sitting at the kitchen table … and I said to him, ‘Are you waiting for me to get up to kiss you goodbye?’ “ she said. “So I stood up and I kissed him goodbye and I told him, ‘I love you,’ and he told me he loved me, and then we hugged each other, and I told him to come home early and he said he would.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal