NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Three suspects in a Midtown murder mystery appeared before a judge on Wednesday.

Police say a Stamford man was stabbed fifteen times, thrown from an apartment window, and then buried in New Jersey.

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, James Rackover, 25, and Lawrence Dilione, 28, finally faced murder charges in the killing of Joseph Communale.

The 25-year-old Communale had been at a party at Rackover’s on East 59th Street and Sutton Place on November 13, but never made it out alive.

His body was found days later in a shallow grave in Monmouth County — both defendants have maintained their innocence.

“These are precisely the cases in which the allegations turn out to be unfounded,” Rackover’s attorney said.

“The prosecution says they have a case, we say they don’t,” Dilione’s attorney added.

Communale’s murder was gruesome; first he was viciously beaten in an apparent fight over cigarettes. Then, prosecutors claim, Rackover stabbed him fifteen times.

There were also allegations that he tried to dismember the body.

When the corpse was later found dumped at the Jersey shore, there was evidence that it was doused with gasoline and set on fire.

Rackover had originally been charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution, but he never made bail and has been in jail ever since.

A third man, Max Gemma, has been charged with hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence.

Rackover and Dilione — facing murder charges — have been remanded, Gemma is free on bail. Another court date has been set for June.

 

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