(Reuters) - A 20-year-old man has confessed to killing four men who were missing for days and burying their bodies at a sprawling Bucks County, Pennsylvania, farm owned by his family, his attorney said on Thursday.
Cosmo Dinardo's attorney, Paul Lang, said Dinardo made his confession to Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub and told investigators where the bodies were buried in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.
Video aired by KYW-TV showed the handcuffed Dinardo emerging from a meeting with authorities and telling reporters "I'm sorry" when asked what he had to say to the families of the men.
"He confessed to his participation or commission in the murders of the four young men. In exchange for that confession, Mr. Dinardo was promised by the district attorney that he will spare his life by not invoking the death penalty," Lang told reporters in Doylestown, where the district attorney's office is located.
Weintraub has not commented on any confession, but his office posted a message on Twitter that included a video of Lang's comments to reporters.
Jimi Patrick, 19, of Newtown Township, has been missing since last Wednesday and Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg, and Thomas Meo, 21, of Plumstead Township, and Finocchiaro of Middletown Township have been missing since Friday.
Dinardo was arrested on Wednesday and charged with stealing and trying to sell a car owned by one of the men. Police found Meo's Nissan Maxima on the farm early on Sunday morning and discovered the car's title, unsigned by Meo, along with his insulin kit for diabetes.
Weintraub said at a news conference on Wednesday, “I feel that we bought ourselves a little bit of time in charging Mr. Dinardo with the stolen car case today," and he referenced that Dinardo's bail had been set at $5 million.
Dinardo had been arrested on Monday at his home for owning a gun he was not allowed to possess because he had previously been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, prosecutors said. He was released after his father posted a bond.
Cadaver dogs found 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro's body on Wednesday along with remains of other people not yet identified in a 12-foot-deep (3.7-meter) common grave on the 90-acre (36.4 hectare) farm in Solebury, Pennsylvania.
"This was a homicide. Make no doubt about it," Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said at an overnight news conference. He did not say how Finocchiaro died.
Weintraub has said there were indications that some or all of the men knew one another and investigators were working to confirm the extent of any connections.
The Bucks County District Attorney's office wrote in a Twitter message that Weintraub would hold a press conference at 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) on Friday.
Investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation continued to look for the bodies on the farm Thursday evening, local media reported.
Additional reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Toni Reinhold