Welcome back to Murder Monday, ya’ll. Hope you all got a chance to read our founder Jen’s two part post on the Martha Moxley case – if you haven’t, head back to our True Crime section and check it out.
This week I am tackling one that I feel like you’ve all been waiting for…
The Bucks County Killings ( 2017 )
Now, usually in cases that are close to home I try to remain neutral with my opinions towards the suspects and victims. I do this in case any family or friends of those involved may happen to stumble upon these posts, I’m not trying to pour salt in anyone’s wounds here. But in this case, I will not hold my opinion back. Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Kratz are mindless, sociopathic, conniving, cold blooded murderers. They are a prime example of the argument of nature vs. nurture, considering they chose the path that they did at such a young age, I am convinced that they were just bad seeds from the start. These two kids are actual pieces of garbage, and here’s why –
Between July 5th and July 7th, 2017, four young men were reported missing. The victims Jimi Taro Patrick, Dean Finocchiaro, Mark Sturgis, and Thomas Meo, were subsequently found murdered shortly after their disappearance. They were between the ages of 19 – and 22.
Jimi Taro Patrick, age 19
Taro Patrick was last seen around 6pm on July 5th in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He was a rising sophomore majoring in business at Loyola University in Maryland. He failed to show up for work the following day, after allegedly meeting Cosmo DiNardo to buy marijuana that night. Taro Patrick was shot in the back, and thrown in a hole.
Dean Finocchiaro, age 19
Finocchiaro was last seen around 6:30pm on July 7, when he was being picked up by an unknown driver. His remains were found in a common grave on July 12. He was shot numerous times by both DiNardo and Kratz, and placed in a metal oil tank that had been converted to a pork roaster.
Mark Sturgis, age 22
Thomas Meo, age 21
Mark Sturgis drove to meet his friend Thomas Meo around 6pm on July 7th. They went to meet DiNardo at a church to buy marijuana, and they were both shot upon exiting their vehicle during the meet up. DiNardo ran out of ammunition, and continued to drive over a still breathing Thomas Meo with a backhoe until he died, he then threw both bodies in the common grave tank where Finocchiaro’s body had been placed.
Cosmo DiNardo, age 20
Cosmo DiNardo was a troubled kid who was already known by local authorities. He was a violent, drug-abusing, diagnosed schizophrenic who had over 30 run-ins with local police, but he had never been convicted of a crime (he’s got rich parents – DUH!) In 2016 DiNardo was banned from Arcadia University’s campus after dropping out and lingering on school grounds, making students “uncomfortable”. On February 9, 2016 he was found with a Savage Arms 20-gauge shotgun and ammunition, but he charge was dismissed because his mental health commitment order was “not in proper format” (fuck you, District Judge Michael W. Gallagher). Bensalem police had records of 88 incidents involving the DiNardo family or calls to their household since 1998.
Months before the murders, DiNardo was stranded for more than a day in the woods with a brain injury after a quad biking accident (shocker).
He also had a startling internet presence that worsened quickly prior to his crime spree.
“I am a savage no explanation needed”
Was posted on his Facebook account on December 27th of the following year.
He also posted public pleas for “new women” and “intercourse” – because, you know, that’s how you get yourself a girlfriend apparently.
He also started posting about new jobs and ideas he had. These grand ideas and unrealistic schemes are a critical sign of mental illness and mania.
“Here is how I plan to make my dreams come true. First I am going to go to Montana to do taxidermy school for six months. My second step will be to open a butcher shop in New Hope. After the butcher shop I will use funds to acquire equipment and a building to make an archery range and paintball course.”
He continued to say profits from this venture would go toward buying land out west, in Florida and in South Africa to lead guided hunts and possibly to get his own reality show (what in the actual fuck).
Neighbors have been quoted saying that DiNardo was “pretty nutty” – and he apparently had bragged before about “having someone killed over a debt”.
He was the heir to a family with sizable real estate holdings. His family had a 68-acre farm that cost 5.4$ Million when purchased in 2005. Their fortune stemmed from trucking and concrete services. In December of 2008 the family purchased another adjacent property for $450,000.
Sean Kratz, age 20
Known for stealing jewelry, leaf blowers and tools, among many other things, Kratz definitely had a criminal past. His former girlfriend’s mother was also quoted saying she was certain he had stolen her dog (as if I needed another reason to hope you get shanked in prison.) Neighbors of his former girlfriend said he “Literally tormented the block.” Residents here had reported multiple break ins, and said he had tried to steal appliances from the neighborhood on numerous occasions. He was repeatedly busted for selling these items at resale shops, and had a short stint in jail prior to his final acts with DiNardo. In March of 2017, he was shot 19 times during a robbery, which probably made him feel like he had gained at least a little street cred.
Sturgis’ unoccupied car had been found by police less than two miles away from Cosmo DiNardo’s family farm – shortly after, they found Meo’s car, which contained his diabetes kit. Without it, his family told police he would not survive.
One person in contact with DiNardo once the four had been reported missing texted him asking, “Aren’t you worried?” about “your buddy Dean” (Finocchiaro) DiNardo replied :
“I mean I know the kid but yeah I feel bad for his parents. He’s a pill-popping junky who has 2 DUIs… he prob just jumped on parole or probation.”
“I have no clue bro it’s weird people keep hitting me up I have no idea what’s up.”
That afternoon, DiNardo was arrested in Bensalem for a firearms charge that had been dismissed in May. At this point he was already a “person of interest”. Prosecutors persuaded a judge to set his bail at 1$ million, and the next day he posted bail with a $100,000 cashiers check from his father Antonio – and he walked free. The following day, police rearrested DiNardo for charges of stealing Meo’s 1996 Nissan Maxima – they said a man had reported DiNardo had tried to sell him the car for 500$ on Saturday. It was agreed that he was now considered a flight risk, and District Justice Maggie Snow set his bail at 5$ Million. They continued their search to the DiNardo family’s Solebury farm, where they unearthed a 12 1/2 foot grave. Inside were the remains of multiple bodies, but only Finocchiaro had been identified initially, as the bodies had been partially burned.
While in custody after these findings by police, DiNardo finally confessed to the four murders, and named Sean Kratz as his accomplice. He was told he would not receive the death penalty if he led police to the other bodies, and officials say without this deal they would not have been able to find them. Without the killer’s cooperation, they wouldn’t have been able to find the body of Taro Patrick, who had been killed and buried separately.
Both DiNardo and Kratz are charged with homicide, conspiracy, abuse of corpses, robbery, and possession of instruments of crime.
Just last week, breaking news came out about DiNardo’s released confession tape from July 13, 2017. In this tape, he explains in detail the crimes he committed in a cool and collected tone.
“I go, get the backhoe, dug the hole, said a prayer, put him in the hole.”
(DiNardo describing how he disposed of Taro Patrick’s body.)
The murder spree started on July 5, 2017 with Jimi Taro Patrick – a former classmate of DiNardo’s. Prior to meeting, DiNardo told Patrick to bring $8,000 for a marijuana deal, but Patrick only showed up with $800. For that amount of money, he said he could just sell him a gun instead of the pot. As Patrick went to try out the 12-gauge shot gun, DiNardo shot him in the back with another gun.
“I didn’t want the kid’s $800. I didn’t kill him over the $800. I wasn’t robbing him.”
He claimed he would have been shot if he showed up to his dealer without the money, as he was the middle man. He burned Patrick’s money, buried his body, and continued to his next business venture.
On July 7th, 2017, after buying 300$ worth of steaks and fish for his family, he went and picked up his cousin Sean Kratz. They proceeded to meet Dean Finocchiaro for a drug deal after dropping the food at their grandmother’s house. Their plan was simple this time – they were going to rob him, maybe even kill him. DiNardo told Kratz he had killed before, and told Kratz to rob and shoot Finocchiaro. Kratz was hesitant.
“I wanted to go home, but he just made it clear that he wasn’t taking me home.”
“He wanted me to rob him in the woods and shoot him, take his money.”
“I just couldn’t do it…”
(Kratz, in reference to the demands given to him by his cousin.)
The two picked up Finocchiaro in Bensalem and drove him to the DiNardo property in Solebury, where Patrick’s body was already buried. Once there, the three took four wheelers into the woods, where Kratz was supposed to shoot him. When he couldn’t shoot, DiNardo became angry. He led Kratz and Finocchiaro into a barn telling them he wanted to show them a Vespa. Once inside the barn, Kratz nervously lit a cigarette as Finocchiaro fiddled on his cell phone. DiNardo gave Kratz a shooting gun hand gesture.
“I kinda was hesitant. I pulled the gun out. I aimed it in the air, closed my eyes and fired a shot.”
DiNardo then took the gun from Kratz hand and continued to shoot the already lifeless body of Dean Finocchiaro.
“His head was split the hell open, half his brain was in the barn.” -DiNardo
They covered Finocchiaro’s body with a tarp after robbing his pockets. Then they rolled the body into a backhoe and lifted it into a pig roaster just outside of the barn.
Just after this, DiNardo’s father appeared. DiNardo claimed that his father had another woman with him who was not his mother. Kratz said DiNardo became angry, and swore to kill the both of them.
DiNardo then received a phone call from Tom Meo to arrange a drug deal that same day, and he planned it to be another set up. They were going to rob him and let him go, but instead he showed up with Mark Sturgis – and the deal turned into a blood bath. Tom Meo and Mark Sturgis were shot repeatedly. While clinging to life, Tom Meo was repeatedly run over by DiNardo. Their bodies were thrown in the roaster with Finocchiaro’s body.
DiNardo drove to a gas station and bought Kratz $30 worth of root beer, cream soda, water, iced tea, and cigarettes. Kratz had refused to “smoke a dead man’s cigarettes.” Then they stopped for cheesesteaks – DiNardo said he didn’t eat his, he didn’t have an appetite. The two had a sleepover that night as the bodies were left burning.
They hand washed DiNardo’s truck and drove to Kratz’s Mother’s house in Northeast Philadelphia the next morning, where DiNardo hid the gun used to kill his victims. Then they visited Kratz’s sister and her newborn baby. While there, DiNardo reportedly made lewd comments to her (again, this was also his cousin…)
Then they continued on to a barber shop owned by Kratz’s uncle, where DiNardo got a haircut and a shave while Kratz tossed the victims’ IDs into a sewer out front. Then they went and got their car washed in Franklin Mills.
So basically DiNardo went and scattered the evidence in his own family members’ businesses and homes, as if he could get any worse.
On their way home, DiNardo’s mother called him in hysterics. Word had spread that her son was the last known to have seen Finocchiaro before his disappearance. Kratz asked to be taken home, but DiNardo took him back to the farm. DiNardo hurried to bury the burned remains left in the roaster. In this time, Kratz went and removed the hidden guns from his mother’s home. When asked why he did this, he stated, “The same reason that I shot Dean – I was scared he was going to harm not only myself, but I have a one-and-a-half-month-old nephew, got a little brother, a mother. He made it out like ‘You say anything and I’ll hurt you.’ After knowing what he’s capable of, I was scared for others.” He claims he never spoke to his cousin again.
At the end of the confession tape, DiNardo breaks down and claims:
“I threw my life away for nothing. All I’ve done is nothing… I ruined people’s families.”
Cosmo DiNardo is serving life in prison.
Now, Sean Kratz on the other hand…
Last week Sean Kratz was offered a plea deal for 59-118 years in prison for a third- degree murder and related charges – and he rejected it. He will now face trial, and prosecutors have put the death penalty back on the table for him. I’m sure we’ll keep you posted when the trial comes.
This story hits close to home for many of us in the area. These kids were the same age as my little brother, and what kid their age doesn’t try buying pot nowadays? It is truly sickening to know that these young men, practically still children, could go through with such gruesome acts. Keep an eye out for your friends, be weary of their troubled acquaintances. And please, for Christ’s sake, don’t be so trusting of those people. See you next week.