2 arraigned on charges in Stamford man’s death

STAMFORD - Two men arrested in the stabbing death of a Joseph Comunale, of Stamford, were arraigned Friday on charges of concealing a corpse and hindering prosecution.

James Rackover, of New York City, and Lawrence Dilione, of Jersey City, New Jersey, were arrested on charges including murder. So far, the two have been arraigned only on the lesser charges.

During the hearing, the assistant district attorney alleged that "one or both of these people committed a murder."

Investigators say Comunale was seen on surveillance video entering an apartment with others on East 59th Street in Manhattan. According to a criminal complaint, the victim later left the building with Dilione and re-entered the building around 6:50 a.m.

The complaint says police searched for Comunale on Monday but did not find him. It says Dilione was questioned on Tuesday and that police found a body matching Comunale's description after Dilione showed them an internet map where he says he and another person buried the body.

Investigators say an individual told them they saw Rackover late Sunday evening leave his apartment and place a large duffle bag in the trunk of his black 2015 Mercedes-Benz with tinted windows. Police say license readers captured the vehicle late Sunday night driving through several locations, including the Holland Tunnel in New Jersey.

The complaint says a cadaver dog made a positive alert for the presence of "a human cadaver or human bodily fluids" in the rear of the vehicle.

Police say Rackover denied knowing anything about what happened to Comunale.

Authorities found a body in a shallow grave in Oceanport, New Jersey, on Wednesday while investigating the disappearance of Comunale. They say the body was stabbed 15 times in the chest and that there was an effort to burn the body, as gasoline was found in the grave.

Rackover's lawyer says the case has "serious problems" and will be "vigorously" contested.

Dilione's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The suspect was also charged in connection with three other women's murders.

Rackover and Dilione are being held on a $3 million bond and are expected to be back in court Monday.


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