NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A second man charged in the 2016 killing of Joseph Comunale has pleaded guilty.

Lawrence Dilione and James Rackover were accused of beating and stabbing Comunale, 26, to death following a night of partying at Rackover’s Upper East Side apartment, then burying Comunale’s body in New Jersey.

Lawrence Dilione and James Rackover in criminal court on November 17, 2016. (credit: Sam Costanza/POOL)

Dilione has pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced Tuesday.

“This is another major step forward on the road toward justice for Joey Comunale,” Vance said in a statement. “I thank our prosecutors for ensuring not only that this defendant will serve significant prison time for his role in this unconscionable crime, but also for sparing the Comunale family the agony of reliving their son’s death in yet another murder trial.”

Rackover was sentenced last month to spend 28 and 2/3 years to life in prison.

Police said Comunale, of Stamford, Connecticut, was at a club in Greenwich Village when he decided to leave with some people he had just met. The group then went to a party at Rackover’s high-rise apartment.

At some point, violence broke out.

Prosecutors said medical evidence shows Comunale was beaten by two people and stabbed from both sides.

His father reported him missing after he never came home.

Sources told CBS2 police received a 911 call about a man dragging a suspicious trash bag out of Rackover’s building. K-9 units found human blood on pants and sheets inside the apartment, and a luggage cart used to carry the bags to a car was collected as evidence.

After Comunale was killed, sources said the men tried to dismember his body in a bathtub before tossing it out a window. They then drove his body to Oceanport, New Jersey, where they burned and buried it in a shallow grave.

Prosecutors said EZPass and license plate readers traced Rackover’s car to New Jersey the night Comunale went missing.


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