Watch CBS News

Bail Set For 2 Suspects Charged In Connection With Murder Of Stamford Man

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Bail was set for two men charged in connection with the stabbing death of a Stamford man as sources say police suspect a third person may have been involved.

James Rackover of Manhattan and Lawrence Dilione of Jersey City each had their bail set at $300,000 cash or $3,000,000 bond.

The men were initially arrested on charges that included murder, but they were only arraigned Thursday night on lesser charges of hindering prosecution, tampering with physical evidence and concealment of a corpse.

James Rackover and Lawrence Dilione
James Rackover and Lawrence Dilione in criminal court on November 17, 2016. (credit: Sam Costanza/POOL)

In court, Assistant District Attorney Antoinette Carter alleged that "one or both of these people committed a murder.'' Both are due back in court Nov. 21.

Authorities said 26-year-old Joseph Comunale of Stamford was found stabbed multiple times.

Police said they threw his body from a fourth floor apartment window and then buried him in a shallow grave in Monmouth County, New Jersey, CBS2's Magdalena Doris reported.

"There is an effort to burn his body," Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. "We have gasoline as well in that crime scene."

Sources said someone else is now wanted for taking part in hiding the body and hastily cleaning the crime scene, Doris reported.

Investigators found a mess inside Rackover's apartment at the Grand Sutton. Boyce said they recovered about 32 pieces of evidence.

"We have blood on clothing — substantial, we also have bleach, what appears to be bleach, on that clothing as well in order to cover up the blood," Boyce said. "There is blood splatter in the apartment as well. Not a lot, but there is some. It's quite noticeable, it's visible."

Police said Comunale had only met the suspects a few hours earlier Saturday night at a club. According to court documents, Dilione brought Comunale to Rackover's apartment early Sunday morning for a party with three women.

The two men later escorted the women out, but returned and according to the complaint, Comunale was never seen on security video again, 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reported.

The complaint said an informant told detectives that Rackover left the building with a duffle bag Sunday night and put the bag in a waiting car that traveled to New Jersey and back.

Cadaver dogs later sniffed out evidence of human remains both in the car and the apartment, Papa reported.

Court documents show 28-year-old Dilione admitted to police, saying "We took Joey's body to Oceanport, New Jersey and we buried it in a vacant lot," Doris reported.

Police can't provide a clear motive as to why, Doris reported. Comunale's father, heartbroken, has his own judgement of the evidence.

"I think you can see by what happened to him, these were horrible people," Pat Comunale said.

Rackover's lawyer, Maurice Sercarz, says they'll be doing their own assessment.

"It's only the beginning for us and I look forward to what our review of the evidence will reveal," he said.

Rackover, 25, has a criminal history in Florida which includes burglary and drug charges. Bo Deitl, a former NYPD detective, has known his adoptive father, celebrity jeweler Jeffery Rackover, for years.

"The kid came from Florida, he was a troubled kid," Deitl said. "He was in trouble a few times and Jeffrey took him under his wing, helped him to find a real good job."

Investigators are expected to head back to Rackover's apartment and the burial site Friday to collect more evidence, Doris reported.

A grand jury will examine the evidence to determine if the suspects will face murder charges.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.