Cosmo DiNardo, the 20-year-old Bensalem native who confessed Thursday to killing four young men in Bucks County drug deals gone bad, was mostly a no-show on the township Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board to which he was appointed.
Pamela Janvey, 71, who served on the panel with DiNardo for about two years, said she did not remember much about him, except for a vague memory of him showing up for the 2015 swearing-in in a suit and tie. He was quiet and Janvey said she did not recall him attending too many of the 12-member board's monthly meetings.
DiNardo was appointed to the board for its standard one-year term first in 2015 and was then re-appointed for the 2016 term, according to township documents. He was known by acquaintances as a drug dealer, according to social media posts.
Township Solicitor Joseph Pizzo said Wednesday that appointments to the board came after either an informal application by the individual or Bensalem's longtime Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo reaching out to someone whom he believed was interested in volunteering. Pizzo said the township is always looking for board volunteers. He said he did not know exactly how DiNardo's appointment had occurred.
Janvey said little was known about why exactly each member was appointed.
Her understanding was "the mayor wants you, that's it," Janvey said. And appointees were "usually politically connected," as she was, as a board member of Bensalem's Livengrin Foundation for Addiction Recovery.
Many in Bensalem knew the DiGirolamos and the DiNardos were friends, she said.
DiNardo, who would have been 18 the first year he served, was the youngest member of the board at the time, but college-aged people had served on the board in the past, according to Janvey.
The Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board is "purely an advisory board," Pizzo stressed, noting that it doesn't even have the "quasi-judicial power" of other groups such as the township zoning board. It can only make recommendations to the mayor, he said.
Janvey said the board's explicit duties were somewhat unclear to her, but they included working with the D.A.R.E. – Drug Abuse Resistance Education – program, which teaches students about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and violent behavior.
The board also organized and judged an annual poster and button contest in which local students competed to the make the most creative anti-drug-themed items, Pizzo said.
Through Pizzo, DiGirolamo said he was not interested in speaking to a reporter at the township building on Wednesday, citing a desire to keep the case's focus on the families involved.
Prosecutors say earlier this month DiNardo lured four young men to his family's sprawling 90-acre farm property in Solebury Township under the guise of selling them marijuana, shot and killed them, and buried their bodies there. The four men's disappearances set off the largest investigation in recent Bucks County history and drew national attention.
DiNardo, who lived with his parents, Antonio and Sandra, in Bensalem, told prosecutors that his cousin, Sean Kratz, also 20, of Northeast Philadelphia, helped him in three of the killings. Kratz is also charged in the case.