As dusk settled Thursday in Doylestown and a jury went home again without reaching a verdict in the murder trial of Sean Kratz, the tension in the courtroom was palpable.
That was underscored in the final minutes before court closed for the day, when a relative of one of three young men Kratz is charged with killing walked up to him and said, “You’re going to burn in hell.”
The man was quickly escorted out of the room, capping a day in which the jury deliberated for eight hours without reaching a verdict. Jurors have spent 14 hours over two days weighing Kratz’s fate.
Kratz, 22, is charged with criminal homicide, conspiracy, robbery, abuse of corpse, and related offenses in the deaths of Dean Finocchiaro, 22; Thomas Meo, 21; and Mark Sturgis, 19. Prosecutors say the Northeast Philadelphia native shot Finocchiaro in the head and acted as a lookout as his cousin Cosmo DiNardo killed the other two and buried their bodies on his family’s Bucks County farm after trying to burn them.
Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty if Kratz is convicted.
Jurors asked several questions during their deliberations on Wednesday and Thursday, including the legal definition of murder and whether they could convict someone of multiple counts of murder.
On Thursday, the jury also watched a videorecorded confession Kratz gave in April 2018, during which he admitted his role in the July 2017 murders. Kratz made the statement as part of an agreement to plead guilty to third-degree murder and be spared the death penalty.
However, Kratz stunned both prosecutors and his own attorney by rejecting the deal at the last minute. DiNardo, 22, took a plea deal of his own, and is serving four consecutive life sentences in state prison for the deaths of the three men and a fourth, Jimi Patrick, whom he killed earlier.