What to Know
- Sean Kratz is awaiting his fate in the 2017 Bucks County farm killings.
- Kratz is accused of helping his cousin kill young men and bury them at the farm. He faces criminal homicide counts in three killings.
- Kratz stunned prosecutors and victims' relatives last year in turning down a plea deal that would have helped him avoid the death penalty.
Jurors adjourned for the night Thursday after more than 14 hours of deliberating the fate of 22-year-old Sean Kratz, accused of killing three young men on a Bucks County farm in 2017.
The eighth day of trial ended in a dramatic confrontation between a victim's loved one and Kratz himself.
"You're going to burn in hell," the unidentified man said.
Kratz, wearing a dark suit, mostly sat motionless throughout the day as jurors rewatched a April 2018 interview with investigators. In it, officials revealed that Kratz had previously pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and warned him that changing the plea would mean the interview could be used against him during trial.
Kratz changed his plea less than a month later when his cousin, Cosmo DiNardo, pleaded guilty to four murders. He is now serving four consecutive life sentences for those killings.
During the 90-minute interview, which was obtained exclusively by NBC10 last year, Kratz admitted to shooting 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro at DiNardo's suburban Pennsylvania farm in July 2017.
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It was all part of DiNardo's big plan, Kratz said.
The cousins, according to Kratz, agreed to rob, shoot and kill Finocchiaro under the pretense of selling him marijuana. 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.
Finocchiaro collapsed to the ground and DiNardo shot him a second time, he added.
"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 is charged with three counts of homicide, plus conspiracy, robbery, abuse of a corpse and possession of a weapon. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
On Wednesday morning, despite the bitter cold outside, victims' loved ones poured into the Bucks County courthouse for day one of deliberations.
Bucks County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey L. Finley told the jury there are five possible verdicts they could reach under Pennsylvania's homicide statute: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
It took him more than an hour to read their instructions. After lunch, the jury came back with several questions for the court, including a request to rewatch a 20-minute clip of Kratz talking to his mother.
In the tape, recorded in 2018 while Kratz was in police custody, he appeared flustered and overwhelmed by his interrogation. He repeatedly erupted into sobs as his mother both comforted him and pressed him to them the truth.
"You need to be as honest and clear as you can be," Amodei said in the tape. "F--- family. Your family put you in a position you shouldn't be in."
Kratz went on to describe his cousin as a "lunatic" and "psychopath." He said he can't sleep while in jail, that his legs hurt. Most of all, he was confused by what DiNardo told police and what actually happened.
"I just want to cry," he said to his mother.
"You can't bring them back," she responded at point, referring to the victims. "But you can give them justice. They deserve that."
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 — 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro, 22-year-old Mark Sturgis, 21-year-old Tom Meo and 19-year-old Jimi Taro Patrick — 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.
There, all four were shot to death. Three of the victims’ bodies were doused in gasoline and burned in a makeshift pig roaster, according to confession tapes obtained exclusively by NBC10. Click here to hear and read the grisly confessions.
Kratz’s lawyer, A. Charles Peruto Jr., offered an opposing view. He described his client as having a low IQ and being “preyed upon by a psychopath.”
“The evidence will show that all four would be dead with or without Sean Kratz," he said.
Jurors also heard from Tom Meo’s mother, who recounted calling police when her son went missing. Later in the afternoon, they were shown ATVs Dean Finocchiaro, DiNardo and Kratz rode shortly before Finocchiaro died.
The bloodbath started on July 5, 2017 when Jimi Taro Patrick, DiNardo’s former classmate, attempted to buy cannabis from DiNardo. Instead, he was shot in the back and buried just 10 feet from where he died.
Two days later, DiNardo orchestrated another marijuana deal that allegedly involved Kratz.
The two remaining murders happened that same day. Tom Meo and Mark Sturgis showed up at the farm to buy pot and never left. It would take several days and countless man hours for investigators to find their bodies and piece together what happened.