Suspect indicted in connection with slaying of Stamford man
NEW YORK — A 25-year-old New York City man has been indicted in connection with the murder of a Stamford man who went missing after attending a party at a luxury apartment in Manhattan.
The panel voted Monday to indict James Rackover, an ex-con from Florida who owned the East Side apartment where police said 26-year-old Joseph Comunale was stabbed 15 times on Sunday, November 13.
He was last seen entering a building on 59th street around 7:30 a.m that Sunday.
“At 4 a.m. he went to 518 E. 59th Street with people he met that night, not people he came from Connecticut with,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters Wednesday.
Exactly what happened inside the fourth-floor apartment still remains a mystery but Comunale was apparently stabbed to death inside the luxury building. His body was stuffed in a suitcase and was found 55 miles away, in a remote area in Oceanport, New Jersey, in a shallow grave.
Investigators said someone inside the apartment led them to the grisly scene.
Rackover has a relationship with 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.
Prosecutors won’t reveal what charges Rackover will face until he’s arraigned in December.
Rackover and co-defendant Lawrence Dilione were charged last week with concealment of a human body, hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence.
Neither defendant has been charged with murder as investigators are still trying to determine who killed Comunale but Assistant District Attorney Antoinette Carter alleged that “one or both of these people committed a murder.”
Rackover denies any involvement in Comunale’s murder and his lawyer said the case has “serious problems” and will be “vigorously” contested.
Dilione’s attorney couldn’t be reached for comment.
Communal will be laid to rest on Wednesday in Stamford.
Westhill High School will also hold a special tribute ceremony for him on Saturday at Terry Connors Ice Rink in Stamford. That ceremony will take place at 3:30 p.m. before the Westhill alumni hockey game. Those who played hockey with Communale at Westhill are especially encouraged to sign up this year and play in his honor, according to the alumni Facebook page.