2 men charged in connection with murder of Stamford man found in shallow NJ grave after partying in NYC

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NEW YORK – Two men are facing charges in relation to the murder of a Stamford man who went out in New York City Saturday and never came home.

James Rackover, 25, of New York, and Lawrence Dilione, 28, of Jersey City, New Jersey, are hindering prosecution, concealment of a human corpse and tampering with physical evidence.

Both are also facing second-degree murder charges, but have not been officially charged with that since police and the district attorney are trying to determine which of them may have committed the murder.

Police say 26-year-old Joseph Comunale left his Stamford home Saturday for a night of partying in the city. Comunale was in Greenwich Village,then was invited back to an apartment on the Upper East Side early Sunday morning to continue drinking.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said in a Wednesday night press conference Comunale might have been with strangers.

"At 4 a.m. he went to 518 E. 59th Street with people he met that night, not people he came from Connecticut with," Boyce said.

Comunale, who friends described as "the life of the party," was never seen alive again.

Exactly what happened inside the fourth-floor apartment still remains a mystery.

Joseph was affectionately known as "Joey" to friends and family. The thought of the brutal murder was too much for his father to bear.

"He touched everybody who came in contact with him, loved him," Pat Comunale said. "He was one of a kind. He didn't deserve this, he didn't go looking for trouble."

"I don't know if it was premeditated," Comunale said. "I don't know what happened."

Comunale met his end after apparently being stabbed to death inside the luxury building. His body was stuffed in a suitcase.

Police said the suspect drove 55 miles, to a remote area in Oceanport, New Jersey and dumped the remains in a shallow grave.

Investigators said someone inside the apartment led them to the grisly scene.

One of the suspects, James Rackover, is related to celebrity jeweler Jeffrey Rackover, whose famous clientele include Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez and future First Lady Melania Trump. Both of them live in the apartment where Comunale was last seen.

The younger Rackover did not cooperate with police and lawyered up, according to Boyce.

"We're operating on physical evidence because he's not cooperating with us," Boyce said.

Lawrance Dilione allegedly told police where the body was placed, a source told PIX11.

"This is my best friend. This is my brother," said Todd Greene, Joey's college friend. "I’m not going to let this go and neither will his family."

"We're in denial," Comunale said. "All I have left is his friends."