Nation

2nd arrest made in killings of missing Pennsylvania men

Fortunato Perri, a defense attorney for Cosmo DiNardo, walks to the Bucks County Courthouse in, Doylestown, Pa., Thursday, July 13, 2017. DiNardo admitted killing the four men who went missing last week and told authorities the location of the bodies. Prosecutors agreed to take the death penalty off the table in return for DiNardo's cooperation. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Fortunato Perri, a defense attorney for Cosmo DiNardo, charged with four homicides in Bucks County, Pa., walks to the county courthouse Thursday. Sean Kratz, a cousin of DiNardo, was charged Friday with 20 counts, including three of criminal homicide, and is accused of aiding DiNardo in the deaths of four missing men.

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. — An admitted drug dealer with a history of mental illness was charged Friday with the killings of four Pennsylvania men who vanished a week ago. A second suspect was also arrested and charged in three of the deaths.

Cosmo DiNardo, 20, is charged with all four homicides and 20 other counts, including abuse of corpse, conspiracy and robbery, according to court documents. Sean Kratz, 20, faces 20 counts, including three of criminal homicide.

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DiNardo’s lawyer announced Thursday that his client had admitted to the killings and was cooperating with investigators. Kratz was arrested later the same day, authorities said.

All the victims are believed buried on a farm property in Solebury, Pa., owned by DiNardo’s parents. Only one set of remains has so far been identified.

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The court complaints against the two suspects claim they lured the victims to a remote farm with the promise of drug deals, shot them, ran one over with a backhoe, and tried to burn three of the bodies in a “pig roaster.”

Officials said DiNardo killed the men because felt cheated or threatened during three drug transactions. DiNardo told authorities that a coconspirator from Philadelphia was involved in three of the deaths.

DiNardo has agreed to plead guilty to four first-degree murder counts, attorney Paul Lang said. In exchange for DiNardo’s cooperation, Lang said, prosecutors would not seek the death penalty.

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Lang called his client remorseful. As a law enforcement official escorted a shackled DiNardo from the courthouse on Thursday, he said ‘‘I’m sorry.’’

Kratz’s mother, Vanessa, declined to comment on her son arrest’s when reached by phone.

The Bucks County district attorney planned to hold a news conference Friday afternoon to report on all the latest developments.

The person with knowledge of the confession said one of the men was killed July 5 and the other three were killed July 7.

‘‘Every death was related to a purported drug transaction, and at the end of each one there’s a killing,’’ the person said.

DiNardo then burned the bodies — three of them inside a drum — at his family’s farm in Solebury Township, about 30 miles north of Philadelphia, the person said.

Authorities had charged DiNardo earlier this year with having a gun despite an involuntary mental health commitment. In seeking $5 million bail on a stolen car charge this week, prosecutors said he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He also suffered a head injury in an all-terrain vehicle accident a year ago.

The victims are 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro, 22-year-old Mark Sturgis, 21-year-old Tom Meo and 19-year-old Jimi Taro Patrick. Patrick, who was a year behind DiNardo at a Catholic high school, was last seen Wednesday, while the other three vanished two days later.

Cadaver dogs led investigators this week to the spot on the family farm where they discovered human remains inside a 12 ½-foot-deep common grave.

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