The Manhattan resident whose party turned deadly for a Connecticut man was indicted yesterday, but the indictment remains sealed, and it's currently unclear what the charges are. James Rackover had insisted over the weekend in a jailhouse interview, "This is complete bullshit."
Prosecutors believe that Rackover and friend Lawrence Dilione were involved somehow in the murder of Joseph Comunale, a 26-year-old Hofstra graduate from Connecticut, who was reported missing after he went to party in Manhattan on Saturday, November 12th. Comunale was last seen entering the Upper East Side apartment building where Rackover lives on Sunday, November 13.
Police found bloody sheets and clothing at the building, and Dilione allegedly told authorities that Comunale was buried in a shallow grave in Oceanport, NJ. The NY Post reports that his lawyer arrived at and ended the questioning before Dilione could say more.
At the Oceanport location, police found Comunale's body, which had been stabbed 15 times. He also had a broken pelvis, suggesting that his body was thrown from a window. The corpse had been doused with gasoline, possibly as part of an attempt to light the body on fire.
Surveillance videos from Rackover's building allegedly show him removing two large bags from the building on Sunday. A building doorman told WCBS 2 that Rackover asked how long surveillance footage was kept.
Rackover and Dilione were arraigned on charges of concealment of a corpse and hindering prosecution last week, but prosecutors said, "One or both of these people committed a murder."
Both men are being held at the Manhattan Detention Complex on $300,000 bail or $3 million bond. Rackover told the Daily News that he has no idea who Comunale is, "I’ve never seen this kid. I don’t even know who he is."
Dilione, he said, was at a club and came by his house with a few people around 4 a.m. He said he knows Dilione through an ex-girlfriend. The group stayed at Rackover’s place until about 7 a.m., drinking and hanging out. There were no arguments that could have provoked the ghastly killing, Rackover said.
Authorities, though, believe that Rackover and Dilione met Comunale while partying downtown.
Rackover, who is originally from Florida, changed his name from James Beaudoin after meeting celebrity jeweler Jeffrey Rackover. Some believe that the pair had a romantic relationship, but the jeweler's friends said he "suddenly announced he had a long-lost son, James, who had showed up at his door claiming he was from Florida and that his mother had recently confessed that she once had a fling with Rackover," according to DNAinfo.
Other friends said they met at a sports club.
There has been speculation that Comunale was killed because he didn't want to have sex with Rackover and/or Dilione. Daily Mail spoke to a past girlfriend of James Rackover, who said, "He cut me and all of his friends in South Florida off from his life. I started seeing photos of him on Facebook in beautiful suits and well-groomed looks. That's not the Jimmy I knew. The guy I knew was chill. He wasn't fancy or a showoff. He wore baggy shorts and T-shirts and was always skateboarding. I can promise you Jimmy isn't gay. Did he travel to New York to turn tricks with older gay men? For the right amount of money, Jimmy would definitely do something like that."
James Rackover's lawyer said, "It’s apparent the District Attorney’s Office is struggling to come to some conclusion as to what happened and led to the grisly discovery of that body in New Jersey. These are precisely the kind of cases where the pressure to resolve can lead to a hasty and erroneous conclusion, so what he’s entitled to is a dispassionate and careful investigation."