Nearly three years after her son Cosmo DiNardo murdered, burned, and buried four young men at her family’s Pennsylvania farm, his mother has spoken out for the first time, describing how her “model son” spiraled into mental illness. In a gut-wrenching interview with Philadelphia Magazine, Sandra DiNardo described the years-long struggle her family had with her son’s bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophrenia—and the lengths she went through to try to help him after a head injury in an ATV accident dramatically altered his personality. The family has since filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Cosmo’s psychiatrist and the University of Pennsylvania Health System after the doctor allegedly stopped his medication; the mother also revealed that she took Cosmo to an appointment with the counselor while, unbeknownst to her, he was in the midst of his July 2017 murder spree. She said Cosmo and a cousin, Sean Kratz, stole her .357 Magnum from their home and used it in the killings. “My son wasn’t this horrible animal that everybody says he was,” she said. “He lost his life a year before those kids. He’s a prisoner in his own brain. He’s lost forever.”
Sandra DiNardo said she sought help from at least 10 different psychiatrists and psychologists from eight different mental-health clinics and hospitals. At one point, she even sought the help of a priest to perform an exorcism on their suburban Philadelphia home—an experience that ended when the priest ran outside and got ill on their front lawn. She said she has since been reached out to by Thomas Klebold, the father of Columbine High School gunman Dylan Klebold—which made her “distressed about the infamous company” her son was now in. DiNardo, 23, agreed to a deal in 2018 that gave him four life sentences in relation to the murders of Jimi Patrick, 19, Dean Finocchiaro, 19, Thomas Meo, 21, and 22-year-old Mark Sturgis on the family’s Bucks County farm retreat. The victims’ families have filed lawsuits against the DiNardo family alleging they failed to secure the gun though they knew he had a history of mental illness and violence.