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Man, 27, Gets Maximum Sentence For Upper East Side Death Of Stamford's Joey Comunale

Joseph "Joey" Comunale
Joseph "Joey" Comunale Photo Credit: Lacerenza Funeral Home

The man convicted of murdering a Stamford resident and burying him in a shallow grave in New Jersey has received the maximum sentence.

James Rackover, 27, was found guilty last month on charges that include second-degree murder, concealing a human corpse and tampering with evidence for his role in the 2016 murder of 26-year-old Joseph Comunale. This week, Rackover was sentenced to a term of between 28 and two-thirds years to life in prison.

Investigators said that Communale attended a party at Rackover’s luxury Manhattan apartment on Nov. 13, 2016. It’s not clear what incited violence, but a fight broke out and Comunale was stabbed more than a dozen times in his chest and torso.

In an effort to conceal the murder, Rackover and a second suspect, Larry Dilione, shoved the body out of a window and threw it in a trunk. They then reportedly attempted to burn the body in a makeshift grave.

Dilione and a third suspect are also facing charges. They are expected to be tried early next year.

“James Rackover committed a brutal and unconscionable crime when he killed Joey Comunale and abandoned him at a makeshift gravesite in New Jersey,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement. “The judge’s sentence of 28 and 2/3 years-to-life in prison — the maximum permitted by state law — was the only appropriate sentence to address the pain and loss that Joey’s murder inflicted on the Comunale family.”

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