Pennsylvania man sentenced to life in prison for quadruple murders

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 16 (Reuters) - One of two Pennsylvania men charged in the killings of four young men lured to a farm with the promise of marijuana was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison after pleading guilty to murder, while the other suspect rejected a plea deal.

Shackled and wearing an orange jump suit in a Doylestown, Pennsylvania, courtroom, Cosmo DiNardo apologized to the families of the four victims, three of whom authorities said were shot dead and burned in a pig roaster by DiNardo and his cousin, Sean Kratz.

"I just want the poor families to know, I am so sorry," DiNardo, 21, said in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. "If there is anything I could do to take back what happened, I would do it."

Quadruple murder case in Pennsylvania
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Quadruple murder case in Pennsylvania
L-R: Dean Finocchiaro, 18, Tom Meo, 21, Jimi Patrick, 19, and Mark Sturgis, 22.

(Bucks County District Attorney's Office/Handout via REUTERS)

Cosmo DiNardo is accused in the killings of four young men lured to a farm with the promise of marijuana.

(Photo: Bucks County District Attorney)

Sean Kratz, DiNardo's cousin, is charged as a co-conspirator in three of the murders.

(Photo: Bucks County District Attorney)
Cosmo DiNardo is escorted in shackles from a Bensalem police transport van into the Bucks County prison…
Additional equipment brought in as authorities continue their search for four missing Bucks County men.
Bucks County District Attorney's Office photos show L-R, top row: Dean Finocchiaro, 18, and Tom Meo, 21, L-R bottom row: Jimi Patrick, 19, and Mark Sturgis, 22 as authorities say they are focusing their search for the four missing men on a sprawling farm in Bucks County, about 40 miles north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. on July 11, 2017. Courtesy Bucks County District Attorney's Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Bucks County DA: Man tried to sell missing man’s car; search continues for 4 men.
Bucks County District Attorney's Office photo of Cosmo DiNardo after his arrest on Monday in Bucks County, about 40 miles north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. in this image released on July 11, 2017.

(Bucks County District Attorney's Office/Handout via REUTERS)
Cosmo DiNardo (L) and his cousin, Sean Kratz.

(Photo: Bucks County District Attorney)
Chopper 6 VIDEO: Search resumes at Bucks County farmland for 4 missing men
Search for four missing men in #buckscounty cont's into night. Police on rural farm in Solebury Twp.…

But Judge Jeffrey Finley sentenced DiNardo to four consecutive life terms, calling his apology "false and insincere" in light of his taped description of his crimes.

"After committing these offenses, you two went out and had a cheese steak and then went on as if nothing had occurred," Finley said.

DiNardo confessed to murder to avoid the death penalty, according to Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub. He entered a not-guilty plea in December, but later changed it to guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors.

In addition to first-degree murder, DiNardo pleaded guilty to robbery, abuse of corpse, and possession of instruments of crime.

Kratz, 21, of Philadelphia, on Wednesday rejected an offer from prosecutors to plead guilty to one count of 3rd degree murder in return for a sentence of 59 to 118 years in prison. Prosecutors said they will put Kratz on trial for first degree murder and seek the death penalty.

(Cosmo DiNardo, left, and his cousin, Sean Kratz via Bucks County District Attorney)

The state has not executed anyone in nearly 20 years and in 2015 Democratic Governor Tom Wolf placed a moratorium on all executions because of questionable prosecutions in the past.

The bodies of three victims - Dean Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown Township; Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg; and Thomas Meo, 21, of Plumstead Township - were found in a common grave at DiNardo's family's farm in Solebury Township in July 2017.

DiNardo later led authorities to the nearby buried body of the fourth victim, Jimi Patrick, 19, of Newtown. DiNardo was charged with killing Patrick, but Kratz was not.

All four victims were shot after being lured to the farm last July with the belief that DiNardo would sell them marijuana, according to court documents.

The families of the victims have filed wrongful death lawsuits against DiNardo's parents and their construction company, saying he should not have had access to guns because of prior mental health issues.

(Writing by Peter Szekely; Editing by Paul Simao and Grant McCool)

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