The Murderous Descent of Cosmo DiNardo | by The True Crime Occasions

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The True Crime Times
Cosmo DiNardo — Supply: Philly Voice

In 2017, the information in my a part of Pennsylvania was buzzing with the disappearances of 4 younger males from Bucks County. One after the other, these younger males — youngsters, actually — vanished from the face of the earth, and their households and the police struggled to attach the disappearances.

It could ultimately emerge that the boys have been linked by one particular person with a protracted historical past of psychological sickness, police run-ins, and unsettling conduct, who, over the course of about ten days, carried out a reign of terror that will hang-out Bucks County without end.

Bucks County shouldn’t be a small space. In 2010, it was house to 625,249 individuals, making it the fourth most-populous county in Pennsylvania, based on Wikipedia. Massive cities together with Philadelphia are close by, however the violent crime price in Bucks County is low — 9.6 on a scale of 100, with the nationwide common being 22.7. [1]

Like several county, there are areas which might be safer than others, however total, it was an honest place to reside. It’s the sort of place the place the disappearance and homicide of 4 individuals in a span of days would make headlines and strike worry within the hearts of locals and rattle nerves for years to come back.

On July 5, 2017, Jimi Patrick was a 19-year-old dwelling together with his grandparents in Newtown Township. [2] He was house for the summer time from his freshman 12 months at Loyola College Maryland, the place he was a enterprise main.

Jimi Patrick — Supply: Bucks Native Information

Jimi was no dummy. He was attending college on a scholarship bundle totaling greater than $50,000 a 12 months. He labored full-time and had a superb future forward of him.

On the night of July fifth, Jimi informed his grandmother, Sharon Patrick, that he was going out to get a chew to eat. He wouldn’t be gone lengthy, he informed her. The 2 exchanged “I like you’s” and hugs, and Jimi hugged his grandfather, Wealthy Patrick, within the storage earlier than leaving.

Jimi Patrick’s grandparents, Wealthy and Sharon — Supply: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Wealthy and Sharon didn’t know their grandson was additionally on his approach to purchase a little bit of weed.

Jimi walked outdoors and hopped right into a silver pickup truck belonging to Cosmo DiNardo.

At 2 a.m., Sharon opened her grandson’s bed room door and was stunned to seek out that he wasn’t in his mattress. She texted Jimi however obtained no response.

The subsequent day, she reported him lacking.

Investigators pinged Jimi’s cellphone and the sign hit off cell towers in Springfield, Delaware County. However why? Absolutely, Jimi hadn’t deliberate to go that far for a “fast” chew.

Wealthy drove to the world the place his grandson’s cellphone pinged, spoke to police, handed out fliers, and searched in all places he may consider on the lookout for Jimi.

Jimi Patrick — Supply: Heavy.com

However Jimi Patrick was already useless and buried 40 miles away on a farm in Solebury. The city was simply 12 miles from the place the Patricks lived, and the farm was owned by the household of 20-year-old Cosmo DiNardo.

After selecting Jimi up in his truck the evening earlier than, DiNardo drove him to the household farm, the place Jimi was supposed to purchase 4 kilos of hashish from DiNardo for $8,000. [3] However when the 2 reached the distant space, Jimi knowledgeable him that he solely had $800.

Cosmo DiNardo, Sean Kratz, and the DiNardo household farm — Supply: Pennlive

DiNardo informed Jimi he’d be keen to work out a take care of him. As a substitute of promoting him weed, DiNardo provided to promote Jimi a shotgun for $800. Jimi agreed, and DiNardo handed him the gun, then pulled out a .22-caliber rifle and shot Jimi with it, killing him.

After murdering Jimi, DiNardo drove a backhoe to the situation of Jimi’s physique, dug a gap, and buried the aspiring businessman six toes deep within the floor.

It was the start of a horrific homicide spree that will make nationwide headlines.

Cosmo DiNardo — Supply: New York Day by day Information

Cosmo DiNardo had severe psychological well being points. There’s an unlucky stigma hooked up to psychological sickness and lots of imagine that psychological sickness is firmly linked to violence.

It’s, to a degree, however not in the best way most individuals assume. Sure, some circumstances, if left untreated, elevate the potential of violent conduct. Overwhelmingly, nevertheless, people who find themselves mentally unwell are not any extra prone to turn out to be violent than a wholesome particular person. In reality, individuals with psychological sickness usually tend to turn out to be victims of violent crime, particularly if they aren’t taking their remedy as prescribed.

DiNardo, although… he drew the brief finish of the stick. Name him evil if you happen to should, however he was not completely accountable for his personal conduct, and as you will note, his household jumped by way of quite a few hoops to try to get him assist. It’s unimaginable to defend his actions, however how a lot management he had over his actions is certainly questionable.

Cosmo DiNardo — Supply: The Trentonian

Since November 2016, DiNardo had been seeing a psychiatrist on the College of Pennsylvania who specialised in evaluating and treating younger individuals coping with the preliminary onset of psychological sickness. DiNardo was being handled for bipolar dysfunction, schizoaffective dysfunction, and schizophrenia.

For a time, DiNardo took a cocktail of anti-psychotic medication and had been dedicated to a psychological hospital greater than as soon as.

Over the course of 5 months, DiNardo was hospitalized 3 times. [4]

In reality, 2016 was a brutal 12 months for the DiNardo household due to Cosmo DiNardo’s struggles. DiNardo’s conduct was changing into more and more violent and he was out and in of psychiatric hospitals. When he went by way of a manic cycle, he appeared to develop superhuman energy.

He typically attacked members of his family, together with his mom. He refused to eat her cooking as a result of he believed she was attempting to poison him. He was not a younger man that may very well be reasoned with.

Cosmo DiNardo was so troubled that his mom took him to see 10 completely different psychiatrists and even known as in a priest to carry out an exorcism within the household’s house earlier than DiNardo started his killing spree.

Cosmo DiNardo — Supply: ABC 7 Information Los Angeles

Issues began to go downhill for DiNardo in 2015. That 12 months, he broke up with a girlfriend and was unable to meet his dream of changing into a Navy Seal. He was identified with main depressive dysfunction in early 2016.

In Might of 2016, DiNardo was in a extreme ATV crash on the household’s farm that briefly left him in a wheelchair. [5] He additionally suffered head accidents, together with accidents to the frontal lobe of his mind. The frontal lobe is liable for persona, motive, and judgment, in addition to impulse management and different issues. [6] Injury to the frontal lobe could cause issue in all these areas of an individual’s life.

So as to add insult to damage (no pun meant), DiNardo’s accidents weren’t handled instantly as a result of he was stranded within the woods for a day-and-a-half till he was found.

Inside a month of the accident, DiNardo’s mom noticed drastic adjustments in her son’s conduct. He began utilizing artificial marijuana, typically identified on the road as K2 or Spice. [7]

Smoking actual hashish will loosen up you, mellow you out, and sometimes make you drained. It makes some individuals extremely anxious, however many individuals really use it to deal with nervousness.

Artificial weed has the alternative impact. To begin with, not like actual hashish, K2 can kill you. [8] It’s under no circumstances unusual for individuals to die after utilizing Spice.

However maybe essentially the most unsettling facet of Spice is the impact it will possibly have on an individual’s conduct. Agitation and nervousness, paranoia, hallucinations, and psychosis could make customers extraordinarily violent.

Smoking K2 was seemingly the gasoline that brought on DiNardo’s explosive actions.

By Christmas 2016, DiNardo’s mom was begging his psychiatrist for assist as a result of he feared her son would kill her. [4]

Oddly, DiNardo’s mom stated her son’s psychological well being gave the impression to be enhancing within the month earlier than the murders.

However DiNardo’s most up-to-date psychiatrist ended up changing into the defendant in a lawsuit filed by DiNardo’s mom as a result of, shortly earlier than the murders, he had allowed her son to cease taking his remedy.

The really unhappy factor is that DiNardo’s life held nice promise earlier than psychological sickness and his mind damage stole that from him. He’d been a straight-A scholar who labored exhausting for his household’s companies. He performed soccer in highschool and earned a scholarship to Arcadia College.

Not solely did he wish to be a Navy Seal, however he dreamed of changing into an orthodontist.

However when DiNardo’s ship began sinking, unhealthy influences would trigger it to tackle extra water than it may deal with.

DiNardo’s Parter in Crime

The DiNardo’s have been an all-American household. They owned and operated a profitable concrete development enterprise, in addition to a snow removing enterprise. [9] They have been rich and in 2005, the DiNardo household bought the farm in New Hope the place Jimi Patrick would ultimately be killed.

The DiNardo’s weren’t the kinds to hoard their wealth whereas ignoring the wants of the neighborhood. The household constructed a dialysis clinic and a short-term residential heart for adolescents in Philadelphia.

However each household has a black sheep, and within the DiNardo household, there have been two: Cosmo and Sean Kratz.

Sean Kratz — Supply: The Morning Name

Kratz was DiNardo’s cousin, additionally 20 years previous. Earlier than the onset of DiNardo’s homicide spree, Kratz’s mom known as DiNardo’s mom to seek out out if Kratz, who lived in close by Ambler, may begin hanging out with DiNardo, who lamented the truth that he had no associates. It had been years because the two cousins had seen one another.

Why ask for enter from DiNardo’s mom? Cousins hang around on a regular basis, in any case.

The issue was that Kratz was troubled, too. He was investigated in an tried homicide in Philadelphia involving a capturing that left one man completely confined to a wheelchair. Kratz himself was recovering from an unsolved drive-by capturing during which he was riddled with 19 bullets and walked with a limp on account of the assault, which was believed to be retaliatory.

Sandra DiNardo was unaware of her nephew’s darkish historical past, nevertheless. Furthermore, she was unaware that Kratz had been involuntarily dedicated by his mom for eight days the earlier September for “violent tendencies and threats.”

Court docket data present that in September 2016, Kratz flashed a gun at his nine-year-old brother, threatening to “blow his brains out.” He additionally threatened his sister.

Sean Kratz — The Occasions Herald

There may very well be no worse mixture than DiNardo and Kratz, however the two began hanging out collectively and their moms hoped that they might assist each other and maintain one another out of hassle.

In a textual content to Kratz’s mom during which the 2 mentioned their boys’ lack of friendships, DiNardo’s mom wrote:

“We simply want to verify they don’t get in hassle collectively as a result of Cosmo has no extra sense of worry or what’s proper or mistaken.”

Dean Finocchiaro was a troubled younger man.

Dean Finochiarro — Supply: Delco Occasions

At one level, Finocchiaro tried to purchase a TEC9 from DiNardo, however backed out of the transaction when the weapon misfired. He purchased and offered medication and like DiNardo, he suffered from psychological well being points and had at one level checked himself right into a psychological well being facility as an inpatient.

A Tec9 gun — Supply: Getty Pictures

Like Jimi Patrick, Finocchiaro needed to purchase hashish from DiNardo. [10] DiNardo agreed to promote Finocchiaro a quarter-pound of weed for $700, however DiNardo and Kratz had a greater thought.

First, DiNardo picked up Kratz and the 2 determined that moderately than promote weed to Finocchiaro, they might rob him. DiNardo handed Kratz his mom’s Smith & Wesson .357 handgun and the 2 cousins set off to select up Finocchiaro.

Finocchiaro was final seen at about 6:30 p.m. on July 7 climbing into an unidentified car.

Dean Finochiarro — Supply: Bucks County Courier Occasions

DiNardo and Kratz drove Finocchiaro to the DiNardo farm, the place DiNardo shot and killed Finochiarro in a barn. DiNardo by no means denied capturing Finocchiaro however claimed that Kratz shot him first.

Then, DiNardo wrapped Finocchiaro’s physique in a blue tarp and used a backhoe to position him in a steel tank referred to by the DiNardo household because the “pig roaster.”

Tom Meo and Mark Sturgis

Mark Sturgis (L) and Tom Meo (R) — Supply: NBC Information Philadelphia

Not like Patrick and Finocchiaro, Tom Meo was not identified for being a troubled child.

By all accounts, he cherished his household and really a lot loved spending time with them. [11] He was protecting of his youthful sisters, Gabriella and Religion.

He attended Bensalem Excessive College and went on to attend East Stroudsburg College for a 12 months earlier than taking time without work to ponder his future. When he died, he was working two jobs — one in development, and one at a gasoline station in Doylestown.

Tom Meo — Supply: Folks.com

Most of Meo’s free time was spent together with his girlfriend or his greatest buddy, Mark Sturgis.

Mark Sturgis — Supply: The Philadelphia Inquirer

However like many individuals Meo’s age, and like DiNardo’s different victims, he experimented with hashish.

Mark Sturgis, described by his household as a giant teddy bear with a love of taking part in the guitar and discussing deep, philosophical points, labored alongside his father on constructing tasks every day — typically seven days per week. [12] He was near his household and had a robust sense of self.

Like Meo, he smoked weed. And when Cosmo DiNardo instructed Meo and Sturgis to come back to the household farm so he may promote hashish to the 2 males, neither of them had any concept that, identical to Jimi Patrick and Dean Finocchiaro, they have been strolling into an ambush.

DiNardo met up with Meo and Sturgis, who had pushed there collectively, at a parking zone in Peddlers Village, and had them comply with him again to the farm and informed Meo to park his automobile there. [13] DiNardo then drove the 2 to an adjoining property the place Kratz was ready.

As Meo and Sturgis stepped out of DiNardo’s car, DiNardo shot Meo within the again with a .357 handgun. He then unleashed a barrage of bullets at Sturgis as he tried to flee the scene.

Sturgis fell to the bottom, useless, however Meo was nonetheless alive, however he couldn’t transfer. He lay paralyzed on the bottom, screaming for assist. Out of ammunition, DiNardo ran over Meo with a backhoe, lastly ending his struggling.

DiNardo used the backhoe to scoop up the boys’s our bodies and dump them into the identical “pig roaster” the place he had dumped Finochiarro’s physique.

The our bodies of Finochiarro, Meo, and Sturgis have been then drenched in gasoline and lit on hearth. [14] Neither DiNardo nor Kratz bothered to bury the stays and easily left the property.

It took a while, however the police ultimately found out that the widespread denominator within the 4 males’s disappearances was Cosmo DiNardo.

Pings off of cell towers led police to Finochiarro’s cellphone, which was nonetheless turned on and located on the DiNardos’ farm. [9] The police additionally found Tom Meo’s automobile parked on the adjoining property.

DiNardo and Kratz had a thirst for blood however lacked the forethought to plan how they might cowl up their crimes.

Quickly the world was stuffed with searchers, cadaver canines, and a helicopter took to the sky in the hunt for the 4 lacking males.

One among DiNardo’s associates informed the police that DiNardo had tried to promote him Meo’s Nissan Maxima, immediately tying DiNardo to Meo’s disappearance. [14]

The search continued for a number of days till authorities lastly discovered the crude gravesite of Finochiarro, Meo, and Sturgis.

All through the search, Cosmo DiNardo was lower than forthcoming together with his dad and mom, who frequently requested him why the police have been looking out the household farm. [9] He saved telling them he had no thought what was occurring and after the police arrested him, his dad and mom initially refused to imagine their son had killed anybody.

When DiNardo lastly got here clear concerning the murders, his dad and mom have been shocked and horrified.

A buddy of DiNardo’s who had identified him for six years informed investigators he may inform that DiNardo was off his remedy.

Those that knew DiNardo all agreed on one factor: DiNardo had been a candy, accountable, clever child who wouldn’t have been able to harming a fly earlier than his ATV accident. Now, nevertheless, he was a totally completely different particular person.

Cosmo DiNardo was first arrested for an unrelated firearms cost and his bail was set at $1 million. [14] DiNardo’s father, Tony, was in a position to free his son by paying simply 10%, or $100,000.

Cosmo’s dad and mom, Sandra (L) and Antonio “Tony” (Center), and the household’s lawyer — Supply: The Philadelphia Inquirer

The second arrest was in direct connection to the 4 lacking males of Bucks County. [15] This time, the costs have been for theft of a car and receiving stolen property.

DiNardo’s bail was set at $5 million this time — an quantity larger than Buckingham Township District Decide Maggie Snow had ever set earlier than. The bail was set outrageously excessive as a result of Snow believed, and rightfully so, that DiNardo was a harmful particular person and his household’s wealth would have made it simple for him to flee.

Throughout interrogation, DiNardo informed the police that he determined to “whack” Jimi Patrick as a result of he had seen a Glock in Jimi’s backpack. [14] He determined to shoot Patrick earlier than Patrick had the possibility to shoot him, so he “put two behind his head.”

The rifle used to kill Patrick had been reported stolen a 12 months or two beforehand from North Carolina. DiNardo’s dad and mom informed investigators that they had no thought how the gun wound up of their son’s fingers.

DiNardo went on to inform the police that Kratz shot Finochiarro within the head a number of occasions with Sandra DiNardo’s .357. After Finochiarro fell to the bottom, Cosmo shot him two extra occasions within the head and appeared to get pleasure from reminiscing concerning the occasion.

DiNardo informed the police:

“His head was break up the hell open. Half his mind was within the barn.”

DiNardo’s shot to Tom Meo’s again struck Meo’s backbone, DiNardo informed the police, paralyzing him. Upon seeing Meo get shot, Sturgis tried to flee however DiNardo shot him, too.

Meo was on the bottom, screaming, “I can’t really feel my legs!” However DiNardo was out of ammo, so he crushed Meo with the backhoe.

DiNardo stated:

“Lifeless immediately.”

And because the our bodies of Finochiarro, Meo, and Sturgis burned within the pig roaster, DiNardo and Kratz casually hopped within the automobile and ordered cheesesteaks for themselves.

DiNardo informed the police:

“I didn’t eat mine. I simply did one thing so grotesque. I didn’t have the urge for food.”

The next day, July 8, DiNardo and Kratz returned to the property to dig a 12-foot grave for the three males, utilizing the identical backhoe that DiNardo had used to kill Meo.

DiNardo’s psychological sickness was on full show throughout his interrogation. In his manic state, he giggled and made small discuss with the cops and his attorneys. However it appeared that DiNardo grasped the gravity of the state of affairs when he broke down in sobs.

“I don’t know why I did this shit, man. I threw my life away for nothing. My life is completed, for nothing.”

Kratz, too, was arrested. [3] When questioned, he claimed that DiNardo had accomplished the entire killings, saying he by no means shot anybody.

Kratz directed the police to a house in Higher Dublin Township, the place the police discovered the .357 Magnum used within the killings and the Intratec TEC-9.

DiNardo was going through 4 prison murder fees, and Kratz was going through three.

Each defendants pleaded not responsible and have been ordered to be held with out bail.

Cosmo DiNardo being arrested — Supply: Day by day Mail

The query was not if Cosmo DiNardo killed Jimi Patrick, Dean Finochiarro, Tom Meo, and Mark Sturgis. The query was whether or not DiNardo, a person with severe psychological well being points and a mind damage, may very well be held criminally liable for the killings.

Nevertheless, DiNardo’s attorneys decided that they might not mount an madness protection following a psychological well being analysis. [16]

In Might 2018, Cosmo DiNardo pleaded responsible to 4 counts of first-degree homicide, a number of counts of theft, conspiracy, and abuse of a corpse. Below a plea deal, DiNardo was given 4 consecutive life phrases.

Throughout his sentencing listening to, DiNardo stated:

“I need the households to know I’m sorry. If there may be something I may do to take it again, I’d. I can not come to phrases with what occurred. I’m so sorry.”

Sean Kratz initially accepted a plea deal that will have despatched him to jail for 59 years, however on the final minute, he rejected the deal and the case went to trial. Because of this, prosecutors determined to hunt the loss of life penalty.

Sean Kratz — Supply; Bucks Native Information

In defending Kratz, his lawyer painted an image of a dim-witted younger man who may very well be talked into something…actually.

Throughout his trial, Kratz informed the court docket that he and DiNardo killed Patrick, Finochiarro, Meo, and Sturgis for enjoyable. [17] They have been bored and it was one thing they might do without spending a dime.

Kratz’s lawyer informed jurors throughout opening statements that Kratz was a “meek” one who feared DiNardo, and he was “not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.”

In fact, Kratz was a sketchy, violent man lengthy earlier than he teamed up together with his cousin, whether or not he was clever or not. His friendship with DiNardo solely fanned the flames of an already raging hearth.

Bear in mind, 10 months earlier than Kratz and DiNardo went on their homicide spree, Kratz flashed a gun at his brother, age 9, and informed him he would “blow his brains out.” [18]

In the long run, Kratz’s assertion that a lot of the blame lay squarely on DiNardo’s shoulders, and his lawyer’s assertion that Kratz was a dummy, fell flat.[19] Police performed a confession tape throughout Kratz’s trial during which he admitted to killing one of many males, Finochiarro, on the urging of DiNardo.

In November 2019, Kratz was convicted of first- and second-degree homicide within the loss of life of Finochiarro and voluntary manslaughter of Meo and Sturgis. [20] He was sentenced to life in jail plus an extra 18 to 36 years for the opposite killings and crimes.

Throughout a press convention, Bucks County District Lawyer Matthew Weintraub stated:

“He was an utter and depressing failure. The defendant had so many alternatives not solely to extricate himself from this terrible, heinous, diabolical plan to snuff the lifetime of three boys he didn’t even know, he may have saved them, however he selected to assume solely of himself.”

Not like DiNardo, Kratz by no means apologized to the victims’ households in court docket.

Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Kratz carried out the grotesque murders all on their very own. DiNardo got here up with the concept and Kratz helped him carry it out. However within the aftermath of the killings and subsequent trials, the households of the victims determined that DiNardo’s dad and mom have been partly liable for what occurred to their family members.

Whereas the DiNardo household made valiant efforts to get assist for his or her son, the households of Cosmo DiNardo’s victims claimed within the lawsuit that’s nonetheless ongoing that his household failed to forestall him from accessing firearms on their property, regardless of understanding about his violent tendencies. [21]

The lawyer for Jimi Patrick’s grandparents said that the DiNardos “failed of their lawful responsibility to guard others from potential hurt by the hands of their violent, mentally unwell son.” [22]

DiNardo’s mom, Sandra, claims that after her son was dedicated for the primary time in July 2016, the household eliminated the entire weapons from the house apart from her .357. [9]

She said:

“I don’t know the way [Cosmo] knew my gun was there.”

The unhappy factor is, she seemingly saved it round to guard herself from her youngster.

In Might 2020, a Philadelphia Frequent Pleas choose dismissed a petition filed on behalf of DiNardo’s dad and mom to dismiss the lawsuit. [23]

The DiNardo’s have been additionally compelled to face one other chilling actuality: It’s potential their son needed to kill them.

Earlier on the night of July 7, Tony DiNardo, Cosmo’s father, pulled into the driveway on the household farm however shortly left when he seen some kind of commotion occurring on the property. [9] He was together with his mistress on the time and didn’t wish to get caught in her firm.

Based on cellphone data, DiNardo known as his father 3 times that evening, at one level telling him to “come alone.”

Was he planning to kill his personal father? And if he’d killed his father, would he have felt that he needed to kill his mom? The remainder of the household? No surprise Sandra saved a gun hidden in the home.

Additionally in Might 2020, now behind bars, DiNardo went off his meds once more. He turned manic and obtained right into a brawl together with his cellmate. He was positioned in solitary confinement the place he coated the cell’s solely window with a towel. He was instructed to take away the towel, however he refused. Corrections officers charged the cell and a battle broke out.

The brouhaha landed DiNardo within the jail hospital with a damaged nostril, an injured jaw, and a possible concussion.

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