NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A third suspect has been arrested in connection with the stabbing death of a Stamford man who detectives believe was killed inside a Midtown East apartment and then dumped in New Jersey.
Max Gemma, 29 of Oceanport, New Jersey, is charged with hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence, police said.
As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported, he was silent as he walked out of court following his arraignment.
“Let’s be very clear. he was not involved in any homicide. He was not involved in desecrating Mr. Communale’s body, and they didn’t charge him with that for the simple reason it didn’t happen, and they know it didn’t happen,” defense attorney Mark Bederow said.
The prosecution alleges Gemma changed his clothing, and had something to do with the concealment of certain items, but wouldn’t elaborate.
“We find ourselves indicted and facing hundreds of thousands in bail requests based on a change of clothes, and that could mean something. I think that’s designed to squeeze,” Bederow said.
Two other suspects, James Rackover of Manhattan and Lawrence Dilione of Jersey City, were previously arraigned on charges including hindering prosecution, tampering with physical evidence and concealment of a corpse.
Authorities said 26-year-old Joseph Comunale was last seen alive at Rackover’s East 59th Street apartment last month. His body was later found with multiple stab wounds in a shallow grave in Oceanport, police said.
Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said there was an effort to burn the body and that gasoline was also found at the crime scene. He said blood and other evidence was recovered from the apartment.
No one has been charged with murder yet. The investigation is ongoing.