A person with firsthand knowledge of DiNardo's confession told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity on Thursday that he was a drug dealer who felt cheated or threatened during three drug transactions.
According to the official, the suspect lured the victim by promising them drug and lured to a remote family farm, then shot them, burned the body in a pig roaster in Pennsylvania.
Video aired by KYW-TV showed the handcuffed Dinardo emerging from a meeting with authorities and telling reporters "I'm sorry" when asked what he had to say to the families of the men.
DiNardo agreed to plead guilty to four first-degree murder counts, attorney Paul Lang said outside court, where DiNardo had met with investigators. DiNardo also admitted to killing 22 year old, Mark Sturgis of Pennsburg, 19 year old Jimi Patrick of Newtown, and 19 year old Dean Finocchiaro of Middletown, the first of the men identified earlier this week.
Police are continuing their search of the suspect's 90-acre farm, which is owned by his parents.
The four men went missing over several days last week near Philadelphia.
All four victims are believed to be buried on a farm property in Solebury, Pa., owned by DiNardo's family. Both of their cars were found after they were reported missing last week - and DiNardo was arrested after a friend of his told police that DiNardo had approached him about selling Meo's 1996 Nissan Maxima for $500 on July 8.
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The District Attorney considered DiNardo a flight risk and requested a high bail.
The back-to-back arrests bought investigators time as they scoured the farm and other spots across the county for clues to the men's disappearance, Weintraub said.
About 50 students, faculty and staff gathered Wednesday in the chapel of the Loyola campus to pray for Patrick and the other missing men.
Human remains were discovered Wednesday after search crews worked through sweltering heat and into the night to excavate a grave.
DiNardo was once involuntarily committed to a psychiatric center for his mental problems, and was charged earlier this year for having a gun in spite of the commitment. The confession came in exchange for the D.A. taking the possibility of the death penalty off the table, DiNardo's lawyer said. Dinardo, who is facing about 24 charges altogether, was also charged with four counts of homicide and another four counts of conspiracy involving a criminal homicide.
"As parents, Mr. and Mrs. DiNardo sympathize with the parents and families of the missing young men and they are cooperating in every way possible with the investigation being conducted by law enforcement", the statement said.
The property owner's son has been taken into custody on $1 million bail over a prior gun charge. Not even 24 hours after he was released on bail, he was arrested for stealing a auto belonging to Meo. In seeking US$5 million (NZ$6.8 million) bail on a stolen vehicle charge this week, prosecutors said he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
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