Cousins charged with killing 4 Pennsylvania men plead not guilty

Two cousins charged with the murders this summer of four Pennsylvania men are due to be arraigned Thursday afternoon....

Posted: Dec 14, 2017 7:46 PM
Updated: Dec 14, 2017 7:46 PM

Two cousins charged with the murders this summer of four Pennsylvania men are due to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.

Cosmo Dinardo and Sean Kratz, both 20 at the time of the killings, were charged in July with multiple counts of homicide, among other charges, after the bodies of four young men who had gone missing were found, mutilated and buried on the Dinardo family's land.

Prosecutors say they "reserve the right" to pursue the death penalty

The murders brought national attention this summer to a rural Pennsylvania enclave

The crimes shocked Bucks County, a pastoral community about 40 miles north of Philadelphia.

A judge in July entered not-guilty pleas on behalf of both defendants and ordered them to be held without bail.

Dinardo soon after his arrest confessed to his and Kratz's involvement in the murders and provided police with the details, according to a criminal complaint. Kratz told detectives he was present for three of the four murders but did not confess to killing any of the men himself.

In exchange for Dinardo's confession, District Attorney Matthew Weintraub agreed not to pursue the death penalty against him, an attorney for Dinardo said at the time.

But according to court documents filed Wednesday, state prosecutors have said they will not rule out pursuing the death penalty against both defendants if they're convicted of first-degree murder.

Victims lured by drugs, prosecutor said

All the victims had been lured to the Dinardo property within days of each other, believing they were on their way to buy marijuana from Dinardo, Weintraub said in July. Instead, he said, they were killed.

The victims were Jimi Patrick and Dean Finocchiaro, both 19, Thomas Meo, 21, and Mark Sturgis, 22.

Dinardo has a history of mental illness, having struggled in the past with schizophrenia, Weintraub said in July.

Police also had frequent run-ins with Dinardo, who was arrested in February and charged with possession of a firearm, an alleged crime because Dinardo had a mental illness and had been involuntarily committed to a mental institution, according to court documents. That charge was dismissed in May.

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