Will Taped Confessions Be Allowed in Bucks County Murders Case? - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Four men go missing, turn up buried on a sprawling Bucks County farm

Will Taped Confessions Be Allowed in Bucks County Murders Case?

Sean Kratz's lawyers argue that the confession shouldn't be admissible in court because police didn't properly give him a Miranda warning.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Defense, Prosecution in Murder Trial Argue Validity of Suspect's On-Tape Confession

    Defense lawyers for Bucks County murder suspect Sean Kratz say his recorded confession should not be used as courtroom evidence because he was never properly given a Miranda warning by police officers. Now, a judge must decide if the audio will be used during the trial.

    (Published Tuesday, April 16, 2019)

    What to Know

    • A judge must decide if confession tapes in the Bucks County murders of four young men should be used in the trial for one of the suspects.

    • NBC10 obtained recordings of Sean Kratz confessing to helping his cousin Cosmo DiNardo lure, murder and bury four men in Bucks County.

    • Kratz's lawyers argue that the confession shouldn't be admissible in court because police didn't properly give him a Miranda warning.

    Nearly one year after NBC10 exclusively obtained confession tapes from a killer and his cousin, who has been charged as an accomplice, a Bucks County judge will decide whether those tapes will be admissible in court.

    Sean Kratz is one of two men charged in a 2017 murder spree on a sprawling farm that left four young men dead. His cousin, Cosmo DiNardo, pleaded guilty to murdering the victims. He received life in prison.

    Kratz is accused of helping DiNardo lure the men and hide their bodies. He remains jailed, charged with three counts of criminal homicide. Last year, Kratz rejected a plea deal and could now face the death penalty if convicted.

    The chilling murders and subsequent police investigation gripped the region and made headlines throughout the nation. Dean Finocchiaro, Mark Sturgis, Tom Meo, and Jimi Taro Patrick were brutally killed on a 90-acre farm near New Hope, Pennsylvania, in July 2017.

    The property was owned by DiNardo's relatives. DiNardo later admitted to carrying out the murders in a disturbing, hours-long confession recording, which was obtained exclusively by NBC10. In it, DiNardo and Kratz detail the murders and the cousins' attempts to cover their tracks.

    Confession Audio: Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Kratz Detail Bucks County MurdersConfession Audio: Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Kratz Detail Bucks County Murders

    EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Hear Cosmo DiNardo's and Sean Kratz's confessions about the murders of four men on DiNardo's Bucks County, Pennsylvania, farm — crimes that captivated the nation. Kratz has since pleaded not guilty to three counts of criminal homicide.

    (Published Thursday, May 17, 2018)

    DiNardo said he and Kratz lured the men to the farm under the guise of a marijuana sale. Each drug deal turned into an ambush that ended with the victims shot, and in one case, run over by a backhoe.

    Photo credit: NBC10

    On Tuesday, Kratz's attorneys argued in court that their client's statement should be thrown out. They claimed police didn't properly issue Kratz a Miranda warning before his confession and that he was unaware that his statement could be used against him. They also claimed Kratz's initial attorney, Craig Penglase, told him the statement would only be used if he took a plea deal.

    Kratz's mother, Vanessa Amodei, also testified Tuesday. She claimed Penglase told her and her son that the recorded statement would help him get a plea deal and save him from the death penalty and that if he didn't take the deal, it would not be used against him in trial.

    Penglase has not taken the stand and has not publicly responded to the comments from Kratz's current attorneys.

    The judge will spend the next few weeks deciding if Kratz's statement will be allowed in his murder trial. A trial date has not yet been set.