The schizophrenic son of wealthy trucking and concrete business owners has confessed to killing four young men after selling them marijuana and burning their bodies at his family’s farm in Bucks County, Penn., ABC News reported Thursday. The four had gone missing separately in the past week and each was apparently shot to death.
A source with firsthand knowledge of Cosmo DiNardo’s confession told the Associated Press that a co-conspirator was involved in the murders of three of the men.
The details were provided after one of Cosmo DiNardo’s lawyers said Thursday that DiNardo had confessed to murdering the missing men, who included a Maryland college student, and had told investigators where their bodies were.
DiNardo, 20, agreed to plead guilty to four first-degree murder counts, attorney Paul Lang said outside court, where DiNardo had met with investigators.
“I’m sorry,” a shackled DiNardo said as he left the courthouse.
The rural community has been rocked to its core with one resident comparing the unfolding developments to “a horror film or something, just unraveling before our eyes.”
Photos on DiNardo’s Facebook page leave no inkling of anything untoward or out of the ordinary for the average 20-year-old American male.
It is still unclear why DiNardo killed the men, but the source said DiNardo had “felt cheated or threatened during three drug transactions.” He has also reportedly been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
DiNardo sold quarter-pound quantities of marijuana for several thousand dollars and sold handguns to area residents, the person said.
“Every death was related to a purported drug transaction, and at the end of each one there’s a killing,” the person said.
Authorities had charged DiNardo earlier this year with having a gun despite an involuntary mental health commitment. In seeking $5 million bail on a stolen car charge this week, prosecutors said he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He also suffered a head injury in an ATV accident about a year ago.
In exchange for DiNardo’s confession, prosecutors took the death penalty off the table.
At least three of the four murdered men reportedly knew each other.
The remains of only one, 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro, have been identified, though authorities said other remains were found in the hole as well.
The other missing men are Mark Sturgis, 22, and Thomas Meo, 21, who worked together in construction, and Jimi Taro Patrick, 19, a student at Loyola University in Baltimore. Patrick and DiNardo had attended the same Catholic high school for boys.
It was the discovery of Meo’s car on a DiNardo family property a half-mile from the farm that led to DiNardo’s re-arrest.
The New York Post provided additional details about the mentally unstable young man.
A friend told the Philadelphia Inquirer that DiNardo, who had recently dropped out of Arcadia University in Glenside, was a disturbed young man who once boasted about killing someone over an $800 debt.
“I can tell you on multiple different occasions, on multiple different accounts, from multiple different people, including myself – Cosmo has spoken about weird things like killing people and having people killed,” Eric Betiz, 20, said.
“Everybody you talk to about this guy, you hear he’s mentally unstable.”
He “aggressively” sought out new customers for his weed business, the pal said — and according to social media, also hocked pricy sneakers online.
“He’s made a lot of scary insinuations in the weeks leading up to this,” Beitz said.
One of them was claiming that he only gave out his phone to “people who kill people.”
He also sold rifles, shotguns, handguns and assault rifles, Beitz added.
“Whatever he could get his hands on,” he said. “He would kind of brag about it, too.”
Details of DiNardo’s connections with the four men are scarce.
Patrick attended the same high school, Holy Ghost Preparatory School, as the confessed killer, and the pair was friends on Facebook.
Meo and Sturgis reportedly met when DiNardo was scouring for someone to buy marijuana, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
In text messages obtained by the newspaper, one of DiNardo’s pals had texted him after the four men vanished, saying, “Cosmo isn’t your buddy Dean missing.”
“I mean I know the kid but yeah I feel bad for his parents,” DiNardo replied. “He’s a pill-popping junky who had 2 duis … He prob just jumped parole Or probation,” he replied, referring to a 2016 in which Finocchiaro pleaded guilty to use or possession of drug paraphernalia.
In March, Finocchiaro also pleaded guilty to DUI and possession of marijuana.
The quadruple murder case, which garnered media attention across the county, has shaken the sheltered community of Bucks County, where locals say things like this just don’t happen.
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said the victims’ families were holding up “remarkably well” but added, “I can’t imagine what they’re going through. (It’s) terrible.”