Last week, Cosmo DiNardo accepted a plea deal for the four brutal murders last summer in Solebury, while his cousin, Sean Kratz decided to stand trial and face the death penalty. On top of that, confession tapes were leaked, an attorney was removed from the case, and land purchases were brought into question. WBCB’s News Director Charlotte Reese and Program Director Ted Efaw hosted a special Speak Your Piece episode Wednesday afternoon. Here is the recap:
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Wednesday, May 23, one week after a hearing that shocked the District Attorney’s office, and once again gripped the public, WBCB welcomed Patrick Duff, a freelance journalist, Temple University Journalism Professor Linn Washington, and Defense Attorney Louis Busico on the station to analyze what’s happened and could be next and react to a brisk change in counsel.
“It’s not completely unheard of, or unusual that a defendant will opt out of a guilty plea and decide to proceed to trial,” Busico said.
Hours after Kratz turned down a 59-to-118-year plea agreement for his alleged involvement in the brutal Solebury murders, confession tapes of his cousin, and himself rang over the airwaves of NBC 10 and Fox 29. Then posted online for countless people to share and listen.
The public heard about the brutal murders from the mouth of recently convicted murderer Cosmo DiNardo, committed on his family’s sprawling 90 or more acre farm.
Duff, who has done extensive research on Antonio DiNardo, Cosmo’s father, property records found he bought the farm for more than $5 million in 2005.
“Does this family have that much money accessible?” Duff asked, concluding with, “if somebody finds something that you’ve done that seems suspicious generally that should be investigated further.”
The confession tapes in part painted the picture of a scared Kratz, who feared his own life, in which the defense ultimately wants.
The material, as heard, was, in fact, the two defendants. A factor Professor Washington said is a news organization’s only obligation is to ensure the “validity of whatever they receive before they broadcast or post it online.”
Within the next couple of days, Kratz’ lead Defense Attorney Craig Penglase was removed from the case due to “conflict of interest.” Later finding out he was the culprit in the leaked tapes, Busico in full disclosure said Penglase, “Saved his client’s life.”
Busico mentioned with this type of evidence leaked it may cause the judge to get a jury from outside the county.
With rumors stirring from the confession’s publicity, District Attorney Gregg Shore had to explain to the families what had happened, while also defending his office’s ethical stance.
WBCB 1490 AM story:
“Certainly, as a result, the victim’s families have had a lot of questions over the last several days that we’ve done our best to answer,” Shore told WBCB.
Since then, as of May 24, Judge Jeffrey Finely issued a gag order for the prosecution and defense teams to not discuss the case with the media until the trial has ended.
While the reasons for the release is mere speculation, guests on the show discussed the possibility of Penglase wanting off the case due to a certain conscious and taking an extra step to gain the judge’s signature, or perhaps him believing the case would have ended on that Wednesday, May 16.
The four victim’s families, Jimi Taro Patrick, 19, Dean Finocchiaro, 19, Mark Sturgis 22, and Thomas Meo, 21 are each seeking several, separate civil lawsuits in which will, “Include aspects that have not been attacked yet by the District Attorney,” according to Tom Klein representing the Finocchiaro family.