Sean Kratz, the 22-year-old Philadelphia man charged in the 2017 murder of four Bucks County men, was in court Monday for a pretrial hearing.
Kratz's cousin, Cosmo DiNardo, pleaded guilty to the four slayings last May and was sentenced to four consecutive life terms in prison.
Kratz is accused of assisting DiNardo in the killings, luring the four men to a Solebury Township farm on the pretense of selling them marijuana, then killing them and burying their bodies on the property. Kratz is charged with homicide, conspiracy, robbery and other offenses related to three of the four killings.
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Kratz's trial was originally scheduled to begin today. Instead, Kratz's new defense lawyer asked to appear at the Bucks County Courthouse for a pretrial motion hearing.
In May, Kratz rejected a plea deal that would have taken the death penalty off the table in exchange for 59 to 118 years in prison. According to WFMZ, Kratz's defense lawyer admitted to releasing confession tapes of Kratz and DiNardo the next day. Kratz's new lawyers argue that the tapes should be ruled inadmissible at trial.
Kratz is charged in the slayings of Dean Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown; Thomas Meo, 21, of Plumstead Township; and Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg. DiNardo was accused of killing those three men and Jimi Patrick, 19, of Newtown.
In a January court appearance, Kratz's defense attorney Julianne Bateman asked the judge presiding over the case to impanel an out-of-town jury, arguing that Bucks County residents had been saturated with news coverage of the murders and could not be impartial. “The people in Bucks County are most attached to this," she said.
"I think we owe it to Bucks County to choose from its own residents," District Attorney Gregg Shore countered, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Ultimately, a local jury was selected.
Prosecutors say they are seeking the death penalty for Kratz.