July 13, 2017 08:06 PM

A Pennsylvania man hopes to avoid the death penalty after confessing his involvement in the deaths of four missing men, his lawyer told reporters on Thursday — one day after investigators uncovered a grave on land that belongs to the man’s family.

PEOPLE confirms that Paul Lang, one of the lawyers representing 20-year-old Cosmo DiNardo, staged a media briefing on Thursday evening where he announced that his client had “confessed” to helping kill the four men, whom police have been searching for since they disappeared last week.

“Mr. DiNardo this evening confessed to the district attorney. He confessed to his participation or commission in the murders of four young men,” Lang said.

DiNardo’s exact participation remains unclear.

In exchange for the confession, Lang said, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, District Attorney Matthew Weintraub promised that he would not pursue the death penalty.

Neither Lang nor the district attorney’s office could immediately be reached for comment on Thursday night.

Clockwise from top-left: Dean Finocchiaro, Jimi Taro Patrick, Tom Meo and Mark Sturgis.
Bucks County District Attorney's Office/The Philadelphia Inquirer/AP)

Much about the investigation remains unclear, though authorities have signaled they know more than they can say publicly as they continue their work.

Late Wednesday, detectives revealed the discovery of multiple bodies in a 12-foot deep common grave on a sprawling farm in Solebury, Pennsylvania, owned by DiNardo’s family.

Authorities are still working to identify all of the remains but said 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro, one of four missing men, was among the bodies.

The other missing men are 21-year-old Tom Meo, 19-year-old Jimi Taro Patrick and Mark Sturgis, 22. It appears their remains have not yet been positively recovered.

Some of the missing men have been described as friends and coworkers, though the connections between all four and DiNardo has not been confirmed.

The scene in Solebury, Pennsylvania, where authorities said they were searching for four missing men.
Inset: Bucks County District Attorney's Office/The Philadelphia Inquirer/AP
Cosmo DiNardo
Bucks County District Attorney's Office via AP

DiNardo is being held on $5 million cash bail after authorities charged him with allegedly stealing Meo’s car and attempting to sell it.

He has been described as a person of interest in the case, but it is unclear if he has been charged in the four disappearances.

PEOPLE could not reach any of the missing men’s family members for comment.

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DiNardo was initially arrested Monday on an unrelated felony firearms possession charge but was released on bail Tuesday evening after posting 10 percent of $1 million bond.

He was re-arrested on the car theft charge, prosecutors said Wednesday afternoon.

According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by PEOPLE, DiNardo allegedly illegally possessed both a 20-gauge shotgun and the ammo for it.

DiNardo was prohibited from owning such a weapon, the document alleges, as he was “known to be suffering from a mental illness” following his involuntary commitment to a mental institution.

It was not immediately clear if he has pleaded to his two charges.

He told reporters he was sorry as he was led out of court on Thursday afternoon.

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