- Associated Press - Thursday, September 7, 2017

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) - One of two cousins charged in the deaths of four men found buried on a farm told authorities he didn’t participate in the killings and said the pair went out for cheesesteaks afterward, a detective said at a court hearing Thursday.

Sean Kratz gave conflicting narratives when pressed by authorities to recall the July killings he described as a “massacre” and blamed the deaths on his cousin Cosmo DiNardo, said Detective Martin McDonough, who took a statement from Kratz after the slayings.

“He was methodical in the way that he presented his story,” McDonough testified as he recalled Kratz’s statement, adding that the suspect said he vomited after the first man was shot. “He initially thought that he could talk his way out of his involvement here.”

DiNardo and Kratz, both 20, appeared Thursday in a Doylestown courthouse in separate hearings that were filled with dozens of the victims’ family members who wiped away tears as details of the killings were discussed.

All four victims were shot and at least three were set on fire and placed in an oil drum that was buried deep on a sprawling farm owned by DiNardo’s parents. Police found the four missing men after a grueling, five-day search in sweltering heat and pelting rain that centered on the farm in Solebury, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Philadelphia.

DiNardo waived his preliminary hearing via video conference. In exchange for prosecutors agreeing to not seek the death penalty, he admitted killing all four men, his lawyer has said.

Kratz is charged in three of the homicides. His lawyer has vowed a vigorous defense.

Both men are being held for trial.

Responding to questions from a reporter about the idea that Kratz was simply a bystander who isn’t responsible for the killings, Gregg Shore, the first assistant district attorney in Bucks County, said the claim was “calculated.” The prosecutor did not hesitate to use stronger language for DiNardo.

“He’s a mass murderer, that’s all I can really say about his behavior,” Shore said.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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