DA Vance: James Rackover Sentenced to 28 and 2/3 Years-to-Life for Brutal Murder of Joseph Comunale

December 5, 2018

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of JAMES RACKOVER, 27, to 28 and 2/3 years-to-life in prison for brutally murdering 26-year-old Joseph Comunale at an Upper East Side apartment and burying his body in a makeshift grave in New Jersey. On November 2, 2018, a New York Supreme Court jury found RACKOVER guilty on all of the charges against him: Murder in the Second Degree, Hindering Prosecution in the First Degree, and Concealment of a Human Corpse.

“James Rackover committed a brutal and unconscionable crime when he killed Joey Comunale and abandoned him at a makeshift gravesite in New Jersey,” said District Attorney Vance. “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.”

Charges against the co-defendants, LAWRENCE DILIONE and MAX GEMMA, are still pending.

Assistant D.A. Antoinette Carter handled the prosecution of the case with Senior Trial Counsel Peter Casolaro and Assistant D.A. Rachel Ehrhardt under the supervision of Executive Assistant D.A. John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Paralegals Paige Mickel and Uriel Medina-Espino and Technology Analyst Ofelia Defran provided valuable assistance with the case.

District Attorney Vance thanked the NYPD and the Oceanport Police Department for their assistance with the investigation.


Defendant Information:

JAMES RACKOVER, D.O.B. 3/12/1991

New York, NY


  • Murder in the Second Degree, a class A felony, one count
  • Hindering Prosecution in the First Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Concealment of a Human Corpse, a class E felony, two counts



  • 28 and 2/3 years-to-life in prison