Man arrested in brutal stabbing of Stamford man at Manhattan party claims innocence

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

NEW YORK – James Rackover, one of the two suspects in the murder of 26-year-old Joe Comunale of Stamford said he is innocent, according to the NY Daily News.

He and a second suspect, Lawrence Dilione, are both due in court Monday for a preliminary hearing in New York City.

In the Daily News interview, Rackover,  who is being held on $3 million bail,  said he has “never seen this kid. I don’t even know who he is…”

Police began investigating Comunale’s suspicious disappearance after he attended a party in midtown Manhattan 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.

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.

You can read more here.