A jury has found Sean Kratz, cousin of sentenced murderer Cosmo DiNardo, guilty on the counts of first and second degree criminal homicide in the death of Dean Finocchiaro of Middletown. The pair conspired in 2017 to burn and bury the corpses of their victims on the DiNardo Farm in Solebury.
The decision comes 29 months after four young men from Bucks County were brutally killed on the DiNardo farm. While DiNardo is serving four life sentences after a guilty plea, Kratz went to trial in hopes of a better result.
Four four days, the victims’ families sat through Kratz’s trial. They had to relive the loss of their sons, including Jimi Patrick, 19, of Newtown, Dean Finocchiaro, 22, of Middletown, Michael Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg, and Thomas Meo, 21, of Plumstead.
Then, Wednesday, the jury began deliberation. They spent 18 hours combing over details, watching and rewatching confession tape, and weighing the evidence. Finally, they decided their verdict on what Deputy District Attorney Kate Kohler called “one of the most horrific days in Bucks County history.”
The jury also convicted Kratz on charges of abuse of a corpse for Finocchiaro, Meo, and Sturgis, among other charges. Kratz and DiNardo worked together to put their bodies in a “pig roaster,” burn them, and bury them in a 14 foot hole.
Kratz’s dramatic trial was full of dramatic displays from the prosecution and defense. In closing arguments, prosecutors took the jury through a timeline of Kratz’s interviews with police.
These tapes showed a clear change. From a complete denial of any knowledge, Kratz gradually revealed a more intimate knowledge of the case. Finally, audio of his confession rang through the courtroom.
With the ruling comes questions about why Kratz never testified in his own defense.
Instead, Defense Attorney Charles Peruto Jr. argued his client was an “idiot” who was 118 lbs at the time of the murders. Kratz would have been too stupid, small, and afraid to stand up to the real “lunatic,” DiNardo.
Peruto also slammed Kratz’s former attorney Craig Penglase as a “scumbag.” Penglase admitted to leaking a taped police interview with Sean Kratz to the media in 2018.
Despite Peruto’s claims about DiNardo and Pengalse, they did not testify either. The argument seemed to hinge on the jury believing Peruto against Kratz’s own words.
Kratz’s relatives, including his mother, had an emotional reaction as the jury read their verdict.
Judge Jeffrey Finley thanked the jurors for their “hard work.” They must now decide if Kratz will serve life in prison or face the death penalty.