A party boy who was implicated in the brutal murder of a man whose body was then dumped in a shallow New Jersey Grave after a night of partying in 2016 has admitted his role in the murder.
Lawrence Dilione, 30, of New York City, pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter in the first degree, according to Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
The guilty plea comes just one month after Dilione’s party boy pal James Rackover, 27 — the ‘adopted son’ of ‘jeweler to the stars’ Jeffrey Rackover — was given 28 and 2/3 years-to-life in prison after being found guilty of murdering Joseph Comunale.
Lawrence Dilione, 30, of New York City, pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter in the first degree, according to a Tuesday media alert (pictured here in 2017)
James Rackover (right) blamed friend Dilione (left) for Joseph Comunale’s murder, claiming Dilione killed him. Dilione, meanwhile, said that he only beat up Comunale (here in 2017)
Rackover received the maximum sentence for after being convicted of murder in the second degree, hindering prosecution in the first degree and concealment of a human corpse.
Rackover was found guilty of stabbing, strangling and beating to death Comunale, 26, a Hofstra University graduate who he and Dilione met at a Greenwich Village nightclub in 2016.
Comunale was said to have been killed over an apparent row over cigarettes after a night of drug-fueled partying.
Joseph Comunale (left and right) was beaten, stabbed and strangled to death. His body was found in a wooded area behind a flower shop in New Jersey in November 2016
A supporter and friend of Joseph Comunale wears a pin in tribute to him at New York Supreme Court for the sentencing of James Rackover in December
Dilione was due to stand trial this year, but is now expected to be sentenced in February. He is pictured at left in 2017 and at right in 2016
A once blood-spattered bedsheet and gold chain necklace were among evidence shown to jurors during Rackover’s 2017 murder trial
The clothes Rackover was wearing were also submitted as evidence during trial
Police were led to Rackover and Dilione after reviewing surveillance cameras which picked up Rackover’s car. His EZ Pass also showed him traveling through tolls which led to the site.
They first threw the body out the window of Rackover’s 2nd floor apartment and left it in a garbage bag outside the building but thought better of their plan, drove it to Oceaport, New Jersey, set it on fire and buried it.
During Rackover’s trial, his defense claimed that was Dilione who beat Comunale to death and that Rackover only helped him dispose of the body the next day in New Jersey.
But, Dilione said that he was responsible only for punching Comunale and that he watched Rackover stab him once the fight got out of hand.
‘I turned around and that’s when I saw the knife being pulled out of Joey’s head,’ he said.
Dilione claimed that the fight started when Comunale accused him of taking free alcohol and drugs from him and Rackover without paying his way.
Comunale supposedly said, ‘James is bringing cocaine, I’ve got cigarettes, what the f*** are you bringing to the table.’
Furious, he lunged at Comunale and began beating him, he said.
Dilione’s trial was due to take place this year, but has been preempted by his guilty plea.
Dilione is expected to be sentenced on February 6.
‘This is another major step forward on the road toward justice for Joey Comunale,’ Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said in a statement Tuesday. ‘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.’
A third man, Max Gemma, still faces charges of lesser crimes of covering up Comunale’s murder.