Police: Dealer charged with killing 4 claimed other slayings
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A pot dealer who confessed to killing four men on his family’s farm in Bucks County also claimed to have killed two people in neighboring Philadelphia, but the city’s police commissioner called the information “sketchy.”
City detectives are looking through their files to check on the claims made by 20-year-old Cosmo DiNardo, but they have not had a chance to question him, police Commissioner Richard Ross said Tuesday.
“We have to talk to him directly in order to have a starting point,” Ross said. “Dealing with it third hand is virtually impossible.”
DiNardo was charged last week in Bucks County with four counts of first-degree murder in the case of four missing men whose remains were found on his parents’ farm in Solebury, 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Philadelphia. He also claimed that he killed a man and a woman in Philadelphia years ago but did not know their names, Ross said.
Philadelphia police said Bucks County authorities are still investigating DiNardo’s statements. The Bucks County district attorney declined to comment beyond court papers released last week, which don’t mention the Philadelphia claims.
DiNardo told authorities that he lured the four men to his family’s 90-acre farm under the guise of marijuana transactions before killing them there, according to the court papers. One man was last seen July 5, and the other three vanished two days later.
The bodies of three of the men were placed in an oil tank that was converted into a cooker that DiNardo called the “pig roaster,” according to court papers. He doused them with gasoline and lit them on fire before burying them more than 12 feet deep, investigators said.
Authorities found the body of the fourth man, 19-year-old Loyola University of Maryland student Jimi Taro Patrick, in a separate grave on a remote part of the farm after DiNardo told police where he buried him.
In exchange for that information, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.
DiNardo’s 20-year-old cousin Sean Kratz is charged in three of the killings.
DiNardo and Kratz are being held in jail without bail. They are set to appear before a judge for a preliminary hearing in the case on Sept. 7, Bucks County prosecutors said.
DiNardo’s lawyers say he is remorseful, and DiNardo told reporters last week that he was “sorry.”
Attorney Abby Leeds, retained Tuesday to represent Kratz, said on Twitter her client is charged with very serious crimes that he and his family take very seriously. She vowed a “vigorous and dedicated defense.”
“The Kratz family sympathizes with the families of the victims in this case,” she said.
The other victims are 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro, 22-year-old Mark Sturgis and 21-year-old Tom Meo.
Sturgis’ family has hired a law firm to investigate whether other people besides DiNardo and Kratz are civilly responsible for the deaths, the firm says.
AP reporter Anthony Izaguirre contributed to this story.