Grand jury indicts suspect in Upper East Side party slaying of Connecticut man

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
2 charged in connection with murder of CT man waive court appearances
Eyewitness News reporter NJ Burkett has the latest developments.

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A grand jury voted on Monday to indict James Rackover, a suspect in connection with the murder of 25-year-old Joseph Comunale.

A panel voted Monday to indict Rackover, an ex-con from Florida who owned the Upper East Side apartment where police say Comunale was stabbed 15 times on Nov. 13.

But prosecutors won't reveal the charges he'll face until he's arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court on Dec. 13. His co-defendant Lawrence Dilione, 26, is due back in court Tuesday afternoon for a bail-related appearance.

Both men have been charged with concealment of a human body, hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence. Rackover, of Manhattan, also was arraigned on the charge of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

They have not been charged with murder, since investigators are still trying to sort who actually killed Comunale.

The judge agreed to prosecutors' request to allow investigators to photograph Rackover, 26, to check for signs of a struggle or other injuries. That is expected to happen Tuesday.

Dilione and Rackover waived their appearances at a hearing Monday and no new charges were added for either defendant.

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The two suspects were held on $3 million bond or $300,000 cash bail after their arraignment Thursday.

Comunale's father reported his son missing Nov. 14 because he had not heard from him. Police went to the place where Comunale was last seen -- an Upper East Side apartment. That's where police found evidence of foul play, recovering about 32 pieces of evidence.

Police said the burial site in Monmouth County where Comunale was found is where Dilione is from and believed to work in construction. That scene wasn't found until Wednesday, when one of the two suspects apparently pointed detectives to that location -- more than 60 miles from the Manhattan apartment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.