The gruesome details surrounding the murder of a Hofstra graduate in the apartment of Manhattan ‘party boy’ James Rackover have emerged in new court documents.
Rackover, 25, and friend Lawrence Dileone, 29, are both suspects in the death of Joseph Comunale, 26, on the night of November 13. His stabbed and burned body found in a shallow grave.
Dileone told police that he and Comunale got into a fight over a pack of cigarettes after a night of cocaine and alcohol that ended with the victim lying bloody and unconscious in Rackover’s plush East 95th St apartment.
Suspects: James Rackover (left) is alleged to have stabbed Joseph Comunale to death in November. Lawrence Dileone (right) says he beat up Comunale but Rackover murdered him
The claims emerged in a filing by Mark Bederow, a lawyer for a third suspect, Max Gemma, 29. Dileone, a childhood friend of Gemma’s, told police he wasn’t involved.
Victim: Comunale was beaten up in a fight over cigarettes, Dilione told police. Rackover then stabbed the unconscious man because he was scared of jail, Dilione said
He also said that he wasn’t the one who delivered the killing blows to Comunale.
‘I didn’t kill Joe, it was James,’ Dilione allegedly said. ‘All I did was punch him, then James said he didn’t want to go to jail and then James stabbed him.’
Rackover also choked Comunale before hauling his body to a bath and attempting unsuccessfully to chop him up with a serrated blade, the filing claimed.
The pair cleaned the apartment then dumped Comunale’s body in a shallow grave in Oceanport, New Jersey, Dilione said.
They’re believed to have smuggled it out in a luggage cart belonging to the building, in which Rackover lived with his adoptive father, Jeffrey Rackhouse.
Dilione told police the location of Comunale’s corpse and he was buried by weeping friends and relatives a week and a half after his death.
Despite the tale, no one has been charged with the murder of the young man.
Rackover, Dilione and Gemma all face a charge of hindering a police investigation, and Rackover and Dilione have been charged with concealing a human corpse.
One problem, according to The NY Daily News, is that Dilione spoke to his attorney, Michael Pappa, early on.
Pappa told him not to speak to police – and vice versa – but cops continued to question Dilione for two days, Pappa said.
‘I have good reason to believe… that one or more lawyers for Mr Dilione contacted investigators of the NYPD to instruct them not to question Mr Dilione – yet these instructions were apparently ignored in violation of Mr Dilione’s Miranda rights,’ he claimed.
Charges: Neither Rackover nor Dilione (pictured) have been charged with murder because police broke Miranda rights and took too long to search his home, a lawyer said
Bederow, Gemma’s lawyer, also says that police didn’t search the New Jersey apartment that Gemma and Dilione share until nine days after Comunale’s death.
‘During these nine days, Mr Gemma knew he was under investigation and had unfettered access to the target premises,’ Bederow said. Dilione was in jail at the time.
He argues that the long delay before the serving of the search warrant and Gemma’s access to the home during that period rendered the search invalid.
Bederow also says an incorrect address on the DA’s search warrant affidavit undermine the case against his client.
He wants the charge against his client thrown out.
Laid to rest: Comunale (left, with Rackover) was buried in November. Police took nine days to search the home of Dilione and his friend Max Gemma, according to Gemma’s lawyer