Bucks County, Pa. (WTXF/AP) - Cosmo DiNardo, 20, confessed to the commission of or participation in four murders and agreed to plead guilty to four murder counts, attorney Paul Lange said outside court, where DiNardo had met with investigators.
DiNardo also told investigators where the bodies are. Sources tell FOX 29 the four Bucks County men were killed over marijuana and a gun, after he felt cheated or threatened during three drug transactions.
"I'm sorry," a shackled DiNardo said as he left the courthouse.
In exchange for the cooperation, Lange said, prosecutors were taking the death penalty off the table.
The mystery of the four men's disappearances has transfixed the Philadelphia area over the past week, taking a grisly turn when human remains were discovered in a 12 1/2-foot-deep grave on a farm. But what sort of evil befell them, and why, had remained shrouded in secrecy.
The prosecutor, who has held twice-daily briefings, made it clear Thursday he knew a lot more than he was saying, citing the need to protect the investigation. That only added to the speculation and rumors before DiNardo's confession.
The four men, all residents of Bucks County, disappeared last week. At least three knew each other. The remains of only one, 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro, have been identified, though authorities said other remains were found in the hole as well.
DiNardo, the son of the farm property's owners, was being held on $5 million cash bail before his confession, accused of trying to sell one of the victims' cars.
Police were back at the farm Thursday, digging away in the dust and the 90-degree-plus heat and using plywood to shore up the deep, tent-covered trench that they excavated at the spot where Weintraub said dogs smelled "these poor boys 12 1/2 feet below the ground."
DiNardo, whose parents own construction and concrete businesses in the Philadelphia area, has had a few brushes with the law over the past year.
He was arrested on Monday on an unrelated gun charge dating from February, accused of illegally possessing a shotgun and ammunition after being involuntarily committed to a mental institution.
His father bailed him out, but he was jailed again later in the week on the stolen-car charges, and bail was set much higher, after a prosecutor said he was a danger to the community because he had been diagnosed as schizophrenic.
The other missing men are Mark Sturgis, 22, and Thomas Meo, 21, who worked together in construction, and Jimi Taro Patrick, 19, a student at Loyola University in Baltimore. Patrick and DiNardo had attended the same Catholic high school for boys.
It was the discovery of Meo's car on a DiNardo family property a half-mile from the farm that led to Cosmo DiNardo's re-arrest.