Life Without Parole Term in Brutal PA Killings

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Sean Kratz, who was convicted in the brutal 2017 killings of three men on a Pennsylvania farm, was sentenced Monday to life in prison without parole after prosecutors dropped their bid for the death penalty, reports the New York Times. A jury found Kratz, 22, guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of Dean Finocchiaro, 19, after a 10-day trial. He was convicted of two counts of manslaughter for serving as a lookout while his cousin killed Mark Sturgis, 22, and Thomas Meo, 21. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for Kratz, but Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub changed his mind after meeting with the families of the victims.

“We all discussed, pondered, prayed over, agonized over, debated — that went into our decision to ultimately grant the defendant life as opposed to asking a jury to sentence him to death,” Weintraub said Monday. Defense attorney Charles Peruto said prosecutors could not pursue the death penalty because they did not have the “aggravating factors that they needed.” Kratz plans to appeal the judge’s denial of his request to keep his confession out of the trial. Peruto said that Kratz confessed to killing Finocchiaro because of “inept” legal advice. Weintraub said Kratz was hoping to be sentenced to death so that he could become notorious. “I hope I get the death penalty,” Weintraub heard Kratz say on prison phone calls, “because then I’ll get the federal defenders and then I’ll be notorious and people will know who I am and I’ll go in a blaze of glory and I’ll never be put to death anyway.” Weintraub said, “Now he doesn’t get to be notorious.”

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