DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (WJZ/AP) — Two 20-year-old men, cousins, have been charged with murder in the deaths of a Baltimore college student and three other young men in Pennsylvania.
Cosmo DiNardo is accused of killing of his former high school classmate, 19-year-old Loyola University student Jimi Taro Patrick, on July 5, and burying him on his parents’ farmland.
DiNardo and his cousin, Sean Kratz of Philadelphia, are both charged with three other slayings that allegedly occurred two days later, on July 7.
The bodies of 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro, 22-year-old Mark Sturgis and 21-year-old Tom Meo were found Wednesday in a 12-foot-deep common grave elsewhere on the same property.
According to Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub, authorities would still be looking for Patrick’s body on the sprawling farmland about 30 miles outside of Philadelphia if it had not been for a plea deal he struck with DiNardo.
In exchange for not having to face the death penalty, DiNardo helped authorities find Patrick’s grave, Weintraub says.
All four sets of remains have now been positively identified.
DiNardo has a history of mental health problems, including diagnosed schizophrenia. He told a CBS reporter on Thursday that he is sorry for the killings.
Both DiNardo and Kratz have been denied bail.
WHAT THE AFFIDAVIT SAYS
The following accounts are according to court documents.
Patrick was the first of the four men to die.
DiNardo told investigators that he had agreed to sell Patrick four pounds of marijuana for $8,000. DiNardo said he picked up Patrick at Patrick’s home in Newtown on July 5 and drove him to his parents’ Solebury farm.
When they arrived, Patrick had only $800, so DiNardo offered to sell him a shotgun for that amount. They walked to a remote part of the property, where DiNardo said he fatally shot Patrick with a .22 caliber rifle.
DiNardo then drove a backhoe that was on the property to where Patrick’s body was, dug a hole no more than 6 feet deep and buried him.
Two days later, on July 7, DiNardo agreed to sell quarter-pound of marijuana to Finocchiaro for about $700. Dinardo first picked up Kratz, whom he described as his cousin, and drove to Finocchiaro’s home in Middletown, agreeing on the way that they would rob him.
DiNardo said he gave Kratz a .357 handgun that belonged to his mother, and then drove himself and the other two men to the Solebury property. He said Kratz shot Finocchiaro in the head as they were leaving a barn on the site.
DiNardo told investigators he then took the gun and shot Finocchiaro a second time as the victim lied on the ground.
Also that day, DiNardo said he met Meo and Sturgis at a church parking lot in Peddler’s Village, a short distance west of the family’s farm on Route 202 in Lahaska. DiNardo told investigators that he had a marijuana deal set up with Meo.
DiNardo told investigators that Meo and Sturgis followed him to the Solebury property in Meo’s Nissan Maxima.
After parking the Nissan, Meo and Sturgis rode the rest of the way to a part of the farm with DiNardo in his truck to the Lower York Road property, where Kratz was waiting.
DiNardo said after the men exited the truck, he shot Meo in the back with the .357 handgun, then fired several times at Sturgis as he fled, killing him.
DiNardo said he then ran over Meo with the backhoe before using it to lift both bodies into a metal tank, where he had placed Finocchiaro’s corpse earlier.
The next 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.
Kratz gave a similar statement to detectives on Thursday night, but said that it was DiNardo who shot Finocchiaro, not him.
REACTION FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS
The Loyola University campus is in shock. Patrick, who just finished his freshman year there, was majoring in business and was on the Dean’s list.
The President of Loyola, Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., released the following letter to the community Friday afternoon.
Dear Members of the Loyola Community:
We have now received the official announcement of the death of Jimi Patrick, Class of 2020. You are probably reeling, as am I, with the news of the loss of a valued member of our community, particularly through such horrific violence.
As a community, we are understandably sad, angry, and confused. We will grieve, support one another, and continue to surround Jimi’s loved ones in comfort and prayer. We will also find ways to celebrate Jimi’s life and memory. In the coming days, we will gather on campus, and we will plan a memorial Mass for the fall when students return.
As we are all deeply affected by this news, I encourage you to take care of yourself. Reach out to those you know in the Loyola community, and turn to your friends and family at home. Try to take some space from the news coverage. Please do not hesitate to contact the employees in the Counseling Center, Campus Ministry, or the student life office, all of whom are prepared to help you. If you need assistance outside regular business hours, please call the department of public safety at 410-617-5911, and they will connect you with someone who can help.
At a time of such grief, let’s seek strength in the comfort and compassion we can offer to one another. As St. Francis of Assisi said, “All the darkness in the world can’t extinguish the light of a single candle.”
Please join me in ongoing prayers for Jimi, his family, and all those affected by these events. You are each in my prayers, as well.
Finocchiaro’s body was the first to be positively identified.
His aunt, Tina Finocchiaro, posted on Facebook: “I am completely crushed heartbroken and numb. I lost my nephew to a crime that is unspeakable nobody should have to go through this. My heart goes out to his parents and all of the other parents.”
A friend of Finocchiaro’s, Daniel Balbuena, said “The only reason I’m not crying right now is because if I cry, Dean is going to be mad at me, and say ‘Yo, don’t cry for me, bro.'”
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