Cosmo DiNardo admitted Thursday afternoon in a "full confession" to his involvement in the murders of four men who disappeared in early July, his attorney said.
The guilty plea was part of a deal to avoid the death penalty, attorney Paul Lang told reporters outside the Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown.
Shortly afterward, DiNardo, 20, was escorted into a sheriff's van. He was tied up and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit.
"I'm sorry," he said before being kicked out.
A Northeast Philadelphia resident was questioned by police in connection with the case Thursday night, but it was unclear if that individual was still in custody.
A source close to the investigation with knowledge of the plea negotiations told NBC10 that DiNardo admitted to killing all four men at the 90-acre Salbury Township farm. Several victims were shot and three of the four victims were found in a "mass grave" 12-1/2 feet deep, sources said. DiNardo admitted to burning at least two bodies and told officials where the remains of a fourth victim could be found, sources said.
The surprising news came a day after cadaver dogs helped searchers head to a field in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where the remains of at least one missing young man were buried deep in the ground.
Long referred all questions about the killing to District Attorney Matt Weintraub, but he was not immediately available for comment.
"He confessed to four murders," Long said. "Furthermore, the Commonwealth does not seek the death penalty. Cosmo therefore did not provide all the relevant information he could."
The AP, citing people familiar with the matter, said DiNardo killed them separately after selling them marijuana.
DiNardo, who sold four pounds of marijuana and handguns for thousands of dollars, felt cheated or threatened in the drug trade, AP sources said.
"Every single death is linked to suspected drug dealing and every single death ends with murder," the person said.
Investigators are now looking into whether he was assisted in the crime, sources told NBC10.
DiNardo has been in custody since Wednesday on $5 million bail for allegedly trying to sell one of the men's cars.
The discovery of a farm estate in the rolling green hills above New Hope marks a grim turnNervous search for four menThe one who went missing late last week.
The body of 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro of Middletown has been identified, Weintraub said at a midnight news conference Thursday.
Finocchiaro's death was immediately ruled a homicide, but Weintraub did not say exactly why.
"It's a homicide, there's no doubt about it," Weintraub said. "We just don't know how many homicides there are. We don't know the answer to that question yet."
Finocchiaro with Mark Sturgess, 22, of Painsburg, Montgomery County. Tom Meo, 21, is from Plumstead Township. Jimi Taro Patrick, 19, of Newtown, went missing last week.
Mayo's grandfather, Chuck Meo, told NBC News producers that crews found the remains under a blue tarp after lifting the propane tank.
Bordered by three roads, this sprawling property is located about three miles west of New Hope-on-Delaware in a secluded part of the county where hidden mansions are known as Idlewild and Mountaintop. ) and other names as symbols.
The property consists of three separate lots and is owned by Cosmo DiNardo's parents, Antonio and Sandra DiNardo, of Bensalem (Bensalem), purchased between 2005 and 2008 for a total of nearly $6.5 million.
DiNardo was initially arrested on Wednesday after investigators determined he was missing trying to sell Meo's 1996 Nissan Maxima to a friend.
DiNardo was also arrested on Monday on an unrelated weapons charge, but was released from the Bucks County Jail Tuesday night after his father, Antonio DiNardo, posted 10 percent of his $1 million bond.
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DiNardo was charged in February with possession of a 20-gauge shotgun and ammunition, even though he was barred from owning a firearm due to a history of mental illness, including involuntary commitments, according to an affidavit obtained by NBC10. A district judge dismissed the charge in May, but the district attorney authorized a reopening of the case on Monday.
On Wednesday, before the body was discovered, a family attorney issued a statement on behalf of DiNardo's parents.
"As parents, Mr. and Mrs. DiNardo express our sympathy to the parents and family of the missing young man and cooperate with law enforcement in all ways possible," the family attorney wrote.
According to Sturgis' father, Mark Potash, Sturgis and Mayo were longtime friends and worked for him in construction. Portash said Finokiaro was their mutual friend. Investigators began investigating DiNardo after receiving a tip that he was seen with them shortly before they disappeared.
Police say Patrick went missing on Wednesday, July 5 and has not had any contact with family or friends since. Finocchiaro was last seen alive around 6:30pm on Friday. Get into the vehicle.
Mayo's mother reported him missing on Saturday, according to a new criminal complaint. Meo's girlfriend said she last texted him at 6.53pm on Friday. I haven't heard from him since. Meo is an insulin dependent diabetic.
Sturgis was last seen leaving his Walter Road, Pa., home around 6 p.m. On Friday, he told his father he was going to meet Mayo in Doylestown.
Sturgis' vehicle was found at 2.10am on Sunday in the Hawker Village area of Buckingham Township, about two miles from one of DiNardo's properties.
Unlike neighboring estates, there is no nameplate at the main entrance on Lower York Road at the DiNardo estate. Only a broken mailbox with faded numbers marked the way. On the other side of the property, along Acquay Road, a small, run-down white house sits on the side of the road.
A marked police car guarded the site on Thursday, idling in front of a dilapidated garage yards from the home. Thomas Meo's car was found in the still-open building less than two hours after Sturgis' car.
Detectives said they found Mayo's car keys hanging on the garage wall. They also found Mayo's diabetes supplies in the car.
Bucks County detectives interviewed DiNardo's friend at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, but police did not identify him. The friend told police that DiNardo called him at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The two then met on Bristol and Galloway Streets in Bensalem, where DiNardo allegedly offered to sell Meo his Nissan Maxima for $500, the criminal complaint said.
Police also interviewed DiNardo on Sunday. DiNardo reportedly told detectives that he was driving a silver Ford truck on Friday night.
DiNardo's Ford truck was spotted by Salbury Township Police's mobile license plate reader at 7:49 p.m. Friday on 2541 Street in Salbury Township. Within seconds, the license plate reader also recognized Meo's vehicle in the same location.
The two vehicles were impounded two miles from DiNardo's home and less than a mile from where Sturgis' vehicle was found.
Based on that information, investigators said they may have reason to believe DiNardo "unlawfully took and maintained" control of Mayo's vehicle.
[PHOTOS] Timeline: Four young men murdered in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Susan Coleman, a woman who lives near the farm, told NBC10's Deanna Durante that on Saturday, hours after Mayo and others were last seen, she heard Gunshots were heard around the farm.
"We heard a series of explosions, very loud," Coleman said.
Coleman said she and her husband were sitting outside when they heard the gunfire, but didn't think much of it at first because people were hunting in the area. But after hearing more gunfire, then shouting and commotion, he decided to speak to investigators.
About 50 students and faculty members also gathered at a Loyola University chapel in Maryland to pray for him and three others. Patrick is a rising sophomore at the university. Sean Bray, director of campus ministry, told the Baltimore Sun that the group wanted to honor Patrick's grandmother's request to "pray for Jimmy's safe return."
Patrick, who graduated from Holy Spirit Preparatory School in Bensalem, is on Loyola's dean's list, his grandparents, Sharon and Rich Patrick, said in a prepared statement provided to reporters.
Officials are still trying to identify other remains found Wednesday night. Investigation is ongoing.
"We're going to stay strong," Weintraub said after the announcement of Finocchiaro's death. "We will finish this investigation and somehow bring every missing boy home with his family. We won't rest until we do that."
NBC10 reporters Deanna Durante, Denise Nakano, Drew Smith, Dan Stamm and Brandon Hudson contributed to this report.