DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (WPVI) —
The first wrongful death civil lawsuit has been filed in connection with the murders of four young men whose bodies were found on a farm in Bucks County earlier this year.
The lawsuit filed by the family of 22-year-old Mark Sturgis names as defendants: Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Kratz, the cousins charged in the deaths, and DiNardo’s parents, Sandra and Antonio DiNardo, who own the Solebury Township farm.
“With this lawsuit, the heartbroken parents of Mark Sturgis intend to hold accountable everyone responsible for the horrific death of their son, not just those who pulled the trigger. This includes those who negligently and carelessly permitted either of the accused to gain access to firearms and equipment used in these heinous crimes,” attorney Robert Ross said in a statement.
The lawsuit alleges that Cosmo DiNardo used a Smith and Wesson 357 owned by and registered to his mother to kill Sturgis, and that DiNardo’s parents failed to secure the handgun even though they knew he had a history of mental illness.
The suit, filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, also alleges that DiNardo’s parents created a dangerous situation to exist on their family farm by allowing their son access to the property and also to equipment on it.
Last week, both DiNardo and Kratz entered not guilty pleas during their arraignment. The men, both 20, are charged with offenses including homicide, robbery and conspiracy.
Days earlier, Bucks Co. District Attorney Matt Weintraub filed paperwork reserving the right to seek the death penalty in the case.
He said a deal made with Cosmo DiNardo for complete cooperation during the early phase of the investigation when the young men remained missing is still in place.
The charges against DiNardo and Kratz stem from the July shooting deaths of Sturgis, 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro, 21-year-old Tom Meo and 19-year-old Jimi Patrick, whose bodies were found after a grueling, five-day search in sweltering heat and pelting rain that centered on the farm in Solebury, about 30 miles north of Philadelphia.
Authorities said in court documents that DiNardo said he lured the four men to the sprawling farm owned by his parents under the guise of marijuana transactions before killing them there. All four were shot and three were set on fire and placed in an oil drum that was buried.
The body of Patrick was found in a separate grave after DiNardo told police where to look, authorities said. Kratz is charged in three of the homicides.
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