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September 30, 2017

DiNardo, Kratz arraignments delayed in Bucks County murder case

Crime Solebury Murders
09072017_DiNardo_Kratz Source/Bucks County District Attorney's Office

Cosmo DiNardo, 21, of Bensalem and his cousin, Sean Kratz, 21, of Northeast Philadelphia.

Formal arraignment hearings have been postponed for two cousins allegedly behind a shocking quadruple murder in Bucks County earlier this year.

Cosmo DiNardo, of Bensalem, and Sean Kratz, of Northeast Philadelphia, are now set to appear before Bucks County Judge Wallace Bateman Jr. on Dec. 14. The hearings had been set for Oct. 6.

DiNardo, 20, is accused of fatally shooting Jimi Taro Patrick, 19, of Newtown Township, on July 5 after the two had arranged a marijuana deal on a vast Solebury Township farm that belonged to DiNardo's parents, according to charging documents. He then allegedly used a backhoe to bury Patrick's body in a six-foot-grave.

Two days later, DiNardo and Kratz allegedly took part in the murders of Dean Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown Township; Thomas Meo, 21, of Plumstead Township; and Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg, and buried their bodies in a 12-foot-deep common grave discovered by cadaver dogs.

Kratz is accused of shooting Finocchiaro with DiNardo on July 7. DiNardo allegedly shot both Meo and Sturgis at an adjacent property on Lower York Road that also belonged to DiNardo's parents.

/ Bucks County District Attorney's Office

These four men had been missing for several days before they were found dead on a Solebury Township belonging to the parents of Cosmo DiNardo, a 20-year-old Bensalem man who confessed to his role in the murders of all four. Clockwise from the top left are Jimi Taro Patrick, Thomas Charles Meo, Dean Andrew Finocchiaro and Mark Richard Sturgis.

DiNardo allegedly confessed to his role in the murders in exchange for Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub agreeing not to seek the death penalty.

Although Kratz, 20, said he was present for three of the four slayings, he allegedly told detectives he did not help his cousin shoot and bury the victims. DiNardo's statement to police in July offered a far different account, in which authorities said DiNardo claimed Kratz shot Finocchiaro and helped bury three of the bodies.

Both men also face a series of related criminal charges.

A week before a Sept. 7 preliminary hearing, a new defense team was brought in to represent Kratz after his previous attorney had withdrawn from the case.

Kratz is charged in three of the murders.

The grisly case started with a sprawling, days-long search for the four men that gripped the area until authorities discovered three of the bodies. As part of his plea agreement, DiNardo led authorities to Patrick's body, which had been buried in another location on the farm.

The case brought national attention to a section of Bucks County described by residents as quiet and safe.

"It's scary," a Newtown resident told PhillyVoice at the time as he walked through New Hope, less than four miles from the Solebury farm. "We feel like we live in a bubble here because it's a safe environment. These things weren't supposed to happen here."

The cousins' arraignment hearings are set for 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 410 of the Bucks County Courthouse.