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Man pleads guilty, sentenced to life in prison for killing and burying 4 young men on Pa. farm

Laura McCrystal and Erin McCarthy, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

PHILADELPHIA -- Nearly a year after the bodies of four young men were found buried on a Bucks County, Pa., farm, the man accused of luring them there with a promise to sell them marijuana pleaded guilty Wednesday to their murders.

Cosmo DiNardo, 21, of Bensalem, will spend his life in prison for the murders, a crime that transfixed the region and attracted national attention in July as investigators spent days searching his parents' sprawling Solebury Township farm property for the missing men.

He appeared Wednesday morning in a Doylestown courtroom, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and standing alongside his lawyers. Families of the murder victims -- Thomas C. Meo, Mark P. Sturgis, Dean A. Finocchiaro and Jimi Patrick -- also filled several rows of the courtroom. Some sobbed loudly as a prosecutor read the facts of the case.

DiNardo showed little emotion as he pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree murder. He also pleaded guilty to charges of robbery, abuse of corpse, possession of an instrument of crime and possession of a weapon.

"I just want the poor families to know that I am so sorry and that if there was anything I could do to take back what occurred on those days, I would," he said.

But Judge Jeffrey L. Finley told him his words sounded insincere and false.

"I have no doubt in my mind that should the day ever come that you should find yourself released into community and had an opportunity to kill again, you would do it," the judge said. "To you, human lives are disposable. They have no value."

Finley sentenced DiNardo to four consecutive life terms, one for each killing.

The victims' relatives also unleashed messages of pain and anger.

"F------ piece of s---," Melissa Fratanduono-Meo said as she turned and looked DiNardo in the eyes. "It's taking me everything not to f------ kill you right now."

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