Cosmo DiNardo declared "I am a savage no explanation needed" on social media seven months before police say he lured four young men to his family’s farm, shot them to death, ran one of them over with a backhoe and dumped three of their bodies in a pig roaster.
DiNardo, 21, was the privileged son of wealthy parents who owned land in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, just north of Philadelphia, according to the Bucks County District Attorney. There, DiNardo could ride ATVs and shoot guns, which his friends say he often sold to willing buyers. He also sold weed and he also sold customized Jordans and Nike sneakers, which he sometimes photographed next to large bullets, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
But in 2016, according to court records, he was involuntarily committed to a mental health facility for treatment of schizophrenia, the Inquirer reported. He got banned from both his former high school and from Arcadia College, where he attended for just one semester, due to unspecified strange or aggressive behavior on campus. He started making peculiar Facebook posts, openly asking for sex, talking about going to taxidermy school.
Eventually, his friends told the Inquirer, he started talking about killing people. About being a savage.
On Wednesday, DiNardo pleaded guilty to murdering four young men whose July 2017 disappearances alarmed the suburban Philadelphia community and briefly stumped police - until DiNardo was caught trying to sell one of the victim’s cars. Within days, DiNardo confessed to the killings.
He was sentenced Wednesday to four consecutive life sentences. His cousin, Sean Kratz, is charged with being DiNardo’s accomplice and killing one of the men. He unexpectedly rejected a plea bargain Wednesday and now may face the death penalty.
Ten months after the crimes, police still do not know the motive, not even after DiNardo’s hour-long confession, excerpts of which were published by NBC 10 Wednesday.
In the confession, DiNardo described matter-of-factly how over the course of three days he invited the four unsuspecting men to his family’s farm to buy marijuana from him, then killed them the second they turned their backs.
The first man to go missing on July 5 was Jimi Taro Patrick, a 19-year-old business major on full scholarship at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore. DiNardo told the detective that Patrick was supposed to bring $8,000 to buy a "large quantity of marijuana" and meet him at the farm.
"So we get there, you know, and I said, OK, well let me see the $8,000 - let me see the money," DiNardo said on the recording. "So I go to count the money, and there’s 800 bucks there. So I’m like, dude, if you don’t have the money, like this is horrible. This is not good for me."
Instead, DiNardo told Patrick he could sell him a shotgun for $800. DiNardo handed him the gun. "He goes to shoot it," DiNardo said. "And I shoot him."
After that: "I go get the backhoe, dig the hole, you know. Said a prayer. Put him in the hole."
Then he burned all of the money, because "I didn’t want the kid’s 800 bucks. I didn’t kill him over 800. I wasn’t robbing him."
Two days later, Dean Finocchiaro came to DiNardo’s farm hoping to buy marijuana from him too.
Finocchiaro was in the market for a quarter-pound of weed, but in truth, DiNardo told the detective, he only had a couple ounces to sell.
"Now this was a robbery," DiNardo said.
DiNardo took Finocchiaro to show off a Vespa in the family barn. That’s where Kratz shot the victim, DiNardo said.
In a taped confession also published in part by NBC 10, Kratz admitted as much to the detective, but said he did it because DiNardo made him, because he was afraid.
"I was scared that he was gonna harm not only myself, but, you know, I have a one-and-a-half-month-old nephew," Kratz said. "Got a little brother, a mother. He made it out, like, you know, ‘You say anything, I will hurt your brother.’"
DiNardo told the detective that he shot Finocchiaro again just to "finish" it. Then he dumped Finocchario’s body in a makeshift pig roaster, a 12-foot deep hole in the ground.
Just a half-hour later, two more marijuana customers showed up. The ambush played out again for a third and fourth time. DiNardo said he shot the men, 21-year-old Tom Meo and 22-year-old Mark Sturgis, as soon as they turned their backs.
Sturgis, DiNardo said, was "such a big kid, I unloaded my gun on him," instantly killing him. But Meo was lying on the ground screaming, "I can’t feel my legs! I can’t feel my legs!"
Kratz stood by with his head in his hands, DiNardo said. And he was out of bullets. And so to make the screaming stop, afraid the neighbors might hear, DiNardo said he climbed in his backhoe once again.
"You know, he sees that coming and just shuts the . . .. up, and I just run him over," DiNardo said.
DiNardo put their bodies in the pig roaster too. He dumped gasoline down the hole and started burning them.
Then, NBC 10 reported, the cousins left to get Philly cheesesteak sandwiches.
In court on Wednesday, the victims’ families sat in the courtroom gallery while listening to DiNardo apologize, saying he couldn’t come to terms with what he had done, according to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office. He told the judge that "if there is anything I could do to take it back, I would," but the judge didn’t want to hear it and the families didn’t either. Judge Jeffrey L. Finley called the apology "false and insincere."
"To you, human lives are disposable," Finley said, according to the district attorney.
Speaking directly to DiNardo, Finocchiaro’s father said he prayed that "Dean’s spirit haunts you the rest of your miserable life," while Meo’s mother said it was "taking everything in me" not to kill DiNardo at that moment, the Morning Caller reported.
Sturgis’ father, Mark Potash, remembered DiNardo’s "savage" posts on social media, posing with guns in the weeks before the murders.
"You think you’re savage?" he asked, as the Caller reported. "You’ve lived your whole life protected. In prison, you’ll meet savage. And I promise you, it won’t look like you."