MANHATTAN — A man suspected of murdering a 26-year-old Hofstra graduate in an East 59th Street apartment after a night of partying admitted to police that he had buried the man's body in New Jersey, prosecutors charge.
Lawrence Dilione, 28 — who was arraigned Thursday alongside fellow suspect 25-year-old James Rackover for charges in connection to the murder of Joseph Comunale, 26 — told investigators where to find the body during an interrogation Tuesday, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's office.
"We took Joey's body to Oceanport, New Jersey and we buried it in a vacant lot,” Dilione told Detective Yeoman Castro of the 17th Precinct.
The next day, police found Comunale's body buried in a shallow grave behind an Oceanport flower shop with a bloody duffel bag nearby.
Comunale's body had been stabbed 15 times in the torso, and it appears they tried to burn his body before burying him, police sources said. He also had a shattered pelvis, indicating his body might have been dropped out of a window as his killers tried to hide the body, police sources said.
Prosecutors charged Dilione and Rackover with evidence tampering, hindering prosecution, and concealing a body, and are expected to be indicted on murder charges, according to police sources and court records.
A judge on Thursday set bail at $300,000 each for both men, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's office.
Rackover has been considerably less helpful in the investigation than Dilione, according to the complaint. During an interrogation Rackover told police that he had a party attended by Dillione, a number of women, and a young man whom he said he didn't know, but he told police he didn't know what had become of the man, according to a sworn statement by Yeoman Castro, a detective with the 17th Precinct.
Comunale was last seen early on Nov. 13 at the apartment of Rackover, the son of celebrity jeweler Jeffrey Rackover, whose clients include President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania, police said.
Security cameras captured Comunale's last moments before his death, entering Rackover’s 418 E. 59th St. apartment building, leaving sometime later with Dilione and three women, and then going into an elevator with Dilione at about 6:50 a.m., according to prosecutors.
A witness told police that they saw Rackover put a large duffel bag into a black Mercedes later that night and drive off, according to the complaint. The car, which is registered to Jeffrey Rackover, was picked up on cameras in the Holland Tunnel headed to New Jersey at about 9:45 p.m. and returning to the city at about 3 a.m. on Nov. 14, the DA said.
Police dogs deployed to the iPark parking garage on East 58th Street sniffed out the Mercedes and positively identified the presence of blood in the trunk, and dogs also found the scent of a body and blood in various parts of Rackover's apartment, according to prosecutors.
Rackover and Dilione are being held at Manhattan Detention Complex, records show. Attorneys for the men did not respond to requests for comment.