A jailed man who authorities said was a "person of interest" in the case of four missing Pennsylvania men admitted to killing the friends and told authorities where the bodies are located, the man's defense attorney said Thursday.
Cosmo DiNardo confessed to the "the four murders" and is prepared to plead guilty to four counts of first-degree murder, lawyer Paul Lang said. Lang said DiNardo has deep remorse.
The revelation comes after an investigators charged DiNardo with trying to illegally sell the car belonging to one of the missing young men. Investigators found the body of one of the four men along with human remains in a common grave in Pennsylvania.
The suspect killed the four separately after feeling cheated or threatened after selling them marijuana, a person with firsthand knowledge of the confession told the Associated Press, the news service reported Thursday. A co-conspirator was also involved in the shooting deaths of three of the men, AP reported.
The person spoke to AP on the condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to publicly discuss details of the case.
The 70-acre farm north of Philadelphia where authorities uncovered the remains and stolen vehicle is owned by the DiNardo's parents. The FBI spent several days digging up the grave and sifting through the dirt for evidence.
“This is a homicide; make no mistake about it. We just don’t know how many homicides,” Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said at a news conference Thursday.
Earlier, authorities identified DiNardo, 20, as a person of interest. His bail was set at $5 million cash Wednesday in connection with the stolen car. On Tuesday, DiNardo was released on $1 million bail on an unrelated gun charge.
The earlier charge stems from accusations DiNardo was found with a shotgun and ammunition in February despite a prior mental health commitment. An affidavit in that case said he is “known to be suffering from mental illness.”
The body found in the 12 1/2 foot common grave Wednesday was identified as Dean Finocchiaro, 19. Also missing are Mark Sturgis, 22, Tom Meo, 21, and Jimi Tar Patrick, 19. Patrick, who attended a Catholic high school for boys with DiNardo, was last seen Wednesday, while the other three vanished Friday.
Meo's grandfather, Chuck Meo, told an NBC News producer that crews found the remains under a blue tarp after lifting out a propane tank, WCAU-TV reported.
Weintraub declined to comment Thursday whether any of the other remains had been identified but said investigators made some progress. He also praised law enforcement officials who had been hunting for the four missing men since earlier this week.
"They are tenderly, painstakingly and reverentially recovering the remains of people they do not know and never even met," he said. "They don't do this for glory or recognition, they do it because it's their job. They are unsung heroes, but heroes nonetheless."
DiNardo was charged after authorities, using license tag tracking devices, found Meo's 1996 Nissan Maxima on the same farm where the body was discovered.
Weintraub said investigators found Meo's critical diabetes treatment kit in the car. The criminal complaint in the case said the keys and title to the car were found hanging up on the wall inside the garage of the property. Authorities said the title had not been signed, indicating Meo had not transferred the title to anyone or authorized its sale.
Weintraub said an unnamed witness told authorities DiNardo attempted to sell the car to him for $500.
At least some of the missing men are friends, but it’s unclear how well they knew DiNardo, if at all.
Eric Beitz, 20, of Bensalem, Pa., said Wednesday that he and his friends recently spent time with DiNardo, who seemed to have “ulterior motives.”
“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,” Beitz told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Everybody you talk to about this guy, you hear he’s mentally unstable.”
According to Beitz, DiNardo also sold marijuana and guns and aggressively sought new customers. Teens regularly circulated DiNardo’s number, he told the newspaper.
DiNardo’s parents, Antonio and Sandra DiNardo, own the farm in upper Bucks County, a bucolic area with rolling hillsides, new housing developments, and historic sites. They also own a nearby farm parcel that was also searched and a concrete company near their home in Bensalem, closer to Philadelphia.
An attorney representing the couple issued a statement earlier Wednesday saying they sympathize with the families of the missing men and are cooperating “in every way possible with the investigation.”
DiNardo's social media posts suggest an avid interest in hunting, fishing and Air Jordan sneakers, which he appeared to sell online. He enrolled in a nearby college at one point as a commuter student, with hopes of studying abroad in Italy, according to an article on the school's website. He had a few other brushes with the law since turning 18 over traffic violations and other minor infractions.
Contributing: Jeff Mordock, The News Journal; Associated Press
Contributing: Catherine Park, 11Alive News
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