Confessed spree killer Cosmo DiNardo pleaded guilty Wednesday to the murders of four young men and received a life sentence.
His cousin Sean Kratz, who authorities have alleged to be Dinardo’s accomplice, surprised the court by refusing to accept a plea deal. He will face a death penalty trial, according to prosecutors.
DiNardo confessed to killing former classmate Jimi Patrick, 19, last July because Patrick came up thousands of dollars short in a deal with DiNardo for four pounds of pot. Days later, DiNardo and Kratz allegedly killed three other young men — Dean Finocchiaro, 19; Thomas Meo, 21; and Mark Sturgis, 22 — and then roasted the bodies in a pig cooker on DiNardo’s family farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Kratz is charged in three of four murders.
DiNardo had previously been committed to a psychiatric unit to be treated for schizophrenia, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
During the hearing Wednesday, family members of the victims lashed out at the alleged perpetrators, according to KYW-TV in Philadelphia.
"I pray that Dean’s spirit haunts you the rest of your miserable life," said Anthony Finocchiaro, Dean’s father.
"You started at the top and worked your way down to the gutter," Mark Potash, the father of Sturgis, told DiNardo, according to KYW-TV.
Before the killings, DiNardo stood to inherit substantial family wealth. His mother owned a trucking company and his father, who had inherited a lucrative real estate portfolio after his own father's death, oversaw a concrete business. The family also owned a 68-acre farm in Solebury Township, about 30 miles north of Philadelphia.
Some of DiNardo’s friends said he took a dark turn after he was injured in a four-wheeler accident several months before the murders. One said DiNardo began using K2, a synthetic drug.
An attorney representing the victim’s families said they feel "comfort" knowing DiNardo will spend the rest of his life in prison. “But there’s mixed emotion in knowing they have to deal with [the] trial" of Kratz, said the attorney Carin O’Donnell.
Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said he had hoped the whole case could have been resolved with a plea deal, according to KYW-TV. "We’re going to seek the death penalty against [Kratz], make no mistake about it," he said.
As for DiNardo, Weintraub said, “For whatever reason he had, he killed Jimi Patrick and after that he liked it." He added, “He knew he was putting himself on the map, and he became a man eater."
[Photo: Bucks County District Attorney's Office]