NEW YORK — A man will spend up to life in prison for the beating and stabbing death of a party guest at his luxury Manhattan apartment, the maximum sentence possible in the case.
James Rackover was sentenced to about 29 years to life on Wednesday for the 2016 murder of Stamford, Connecticut, resident Joseph Comunale. “48 Hours” investigated the case against Rackover, the surrogate son of so-called “Jeweler to the Stars” Jeffrey Rackover, in the episode “What Happened in Apartment 4C?”
It’s not clear what triggered the deadly violence. Authorities say partygoers were snorting cocaine and drinking.
James Rackover awaits sentencing in front of Judge James Burke at Manhattan Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in New York. Rackover was sentenced to 28 2/3 years to life in prison after he was convicted last month with the second degree murder of Joey Comunale, concealing a human corpse and tampering with evidence.
Comunale’s body was shoved out of a window and stuffed in a car trunk. It was taken to Oceanport, New Jersey, where it was torched and buried in a makeshift grave.
His father, Patsy Comunale, called Rackover a “coward” who “has no place in a free society,” according to the New York Daily News. Rackover was found guilty last month of all charges against him, including murder and concealment of a corpse, reports CBS New York.
Patsy Comunale called Rackover “living proof that pure evil inhabits the Earth,” reports CBS New York. The victim’s mother, Lisa Comunale, said she hopes Rackover “never sees the light of day.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement the maximum sentence was “the only appropriate sentence to address the pain and loss that Joey’s murder inflicted on the Comunale family.”
Two other defendants are awaiting trial.
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