What to Know
- Sean Kratz found guilty of first and second-degree murder as well as manslaughter and other charges in the 2017 killings.
- Kratz helped his cousin kill young men and bury them at the farm in Solebury Township, Pa. He recorded a taped confession and then recanted.
- Kratz stunned prosecutors and victims' relatives last year in turning down a plea deal that would have helped him avoid the death penalty.
The man accused of killing three people on a suburban Pennsylvania farm in 2017 has been found guilty of first- and second-degree murder for the shooting death of 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro.
Sean Kratz, 22, was also found guilty of conspiracy, abuse of a corpse, robbery and possessing an instrument of crime as related to Finocchiaro's death.
Jurors will return Monday for more hearings to decide whether Kratz will receive the death penalty. It took them about 18 hours to reach a verdict.
Both prosecutors and Kratz's attorneys remained under a gag order until after sentencing and could not comment Friday.
Kratz, who rejected a plea deal last year, was also found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy for the deaths of Mark Sturgis and Tom Meo on his cousin's sprawling farm.
All three victims were lured to the property under the pretense of buying marijuana. Instead, the young men were killed and their bodies burned in a makeshift pig roaster.
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Kratz's cousin, Cosmo DiNardo, previously pleaded guilty to these murders and that of Jimi Taro Patrick. He is now serving four consecutive life sentences for those killings.
During a 90-minute interview with detectives, which was obtained exclusively by NBC10 last year, Kratz admitted to shooting Finocchiaro at DiNardo's suburban Pennsylvania farm in July 2017. Jurors re-watched that interview in its entirely Thursday, the eighth day of trial.
The cousins, according to Kratz, agreed to rob, shoot and kill Finocchiaro but Kratz hesitated when it came time to pull the trigger, he told detectives in the tape.
"I kinda was hesitant. I pulled the gun out. I aimed it in the air, closed my eyes and fired a shot," Kratz said in the tape.
The bullet hit Finocchiaro in the head. He collapsed to the ground and DiNardo shot him a second time.
"Do you believe your shot hit Dean in the head?" a detective asked Kratz.
"Yes," he said.
Kratz said he ran out of the barn shaking and vomiting. DiNardo, on the other hand, walked out laughing and joking that Kratz has never seen a dead body before. DiNardo then riffled through Finocchiaro's pockets, retrieving a cell phone and other belongings. He eventually burned Finocchiaro's body in a makeshift pig roaster.
"I never touched his body," Kratz said in the video.
But he did accept $200 from DiNardo, Kratz said.
Kratz has been on suicide watch since Friday, which is standard for capital cases in Pennsylvania. Both he and DiNardo were expected to testify during the trial but neither took the stand.
During opening arguments, prosecutors and Kratz’s defense team presented two very different versions of what happened in July 2017 when the victims were killed.
Kratz and DiNardo were on a “mission to kill, rob and bury bodies,” Bucks County Deputy District Attorney Mary Kate Kohler said during opening statements. “It was one of the most horrific days in Bucks County history.”
Prosecutors argued that Kratz and DiNardo worked in tandem over the course of several days to lure the victims to DiNardo’s family farm under the guise of selling them marijuana.