YARDLEY, Pa. (AP) — Hundreds of family, friends and community members in Pennsylvania gathered for a vigil to remember four missing young men who were killed and their remains buried on a sprawling family farm.
The vigil was held Sunday night at the Garden of Reflection 9/11 Memorial in Lower Makefield Township. Matthew Schuler, a former contestant on NBC’s “The Voice” and a Bucks County native, sang “Hallelujah.”
The vigil was held in honor of 22-year-old Mark Sturgis, 21-year-old Tom Meo, 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro and 19-year-old Jimi Tar Patrick.
Kaitlyn Masone, 19, of Newtown Township, wept while holding a photo of her childhood friend Patrick and herself when they were both 5.
“When I saw his picture on the news that he was missing, I turned to my mom and said, ‘He’ll be OK. He’ll be home soon,'” Masone told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Police found the missing men’s remains on a farm in Solebury Township last week. A county prosecutor said the remains of Meo, Finocchiaro and Sturgis were found buried 12-feet-deep (3.7-meters-deep) in a common grave. The remains of Patrick were recovered from a separate location.
Cosmo DiNardo is charged in all four killings, which took place on a farm owned by his parents. His cousin, Sean Kratz, is charged in the killings of the three men who were found in the same grave. All four were shot and least three set afire.
According to court papers, DiNardo, 20, who graduated from a Catholic prep school two years ago, said he killed Patrick, a former schoolmate, when he arrived with $800 to buy $8,000 worth of marijuana. He said he shot another man in the back as he tried to run away.
DiNardo pinned one of the deaths on Kratz, 20, although Kratz told police that DiNardo shot all four.
The only motive disclosed by investigators was that DiNardo said he wanted to set the victims up when they went to the farm to buy marijuana. One man vanished July 5, and the others vanished two days later.
DiNardo told police where to find Patrick, and agreed to plead guilty to four counts of first-degree murder. In exchange, he will be spared the death penalty.
In a statement given to reporters after Sunday night’s vigil, Patrick’s grandparents, Sharon and Rich Patrick, thanked investigators “who worked so long and hard to bring our boys home.”
They also thanked the other parents of the missing men.
“We, as a group, made the decision to forgo the death penalty for the defendant in return for locating our grandson. Our deep thanks to this strong group of friends,” the statement said.