A Manhattan party boy accused of brutally murdering a Connecticut college grad after a drug-fueled party allegedly confessed the crime to the son of a New York news anchor, according to the New York Post.
James Rackover, the “surrogate son” of jeweler-to-the-stars Jeffrey Rackover, sought out Louis Ruggiero at an Upper East Side Equinox gym and nervously confessed to slitting the throat of Joseph Comunale, 26, before burying him in a shallow grave in New Jersey, Ruggiero told jurors Monday, according to the Post.
Rackover is the first to face trial for the murder of Comunale, who disappeared after hanging out with Rackover and the other man accused in his death, Lawrence Dillione, and a group of fellow clubbers who had come home to snort cocaine in Rackover’s posh Manhattan apartment on the night of Nov. 13, 2016.
Another man, 30-year-old Max Gemma, is accused of helping Dillione and Rackover cover up the murder, but has not been charged with contributing to Comunale’s death. Dillione is expected to face trial after Rackover, and Gemma is expected to be tried last, according to the New York Daily News.
Dillione and Rackover are being tried separately because each accuses the other of committing the murder.
At the beginning of the trial earlier this month, Rackover’s lawyer, Maurice Sercarz, admitted that his client had been present for the crime, but was not responsible for killing Comunale.
“Nothing in life is black and white,” Sercarz said at the time. “We paint in shades of gray.”
Ruggiero, 24, the son of “Good Day New York” anchor Rosanna Scotto - and the grandson of reputed former Gambino mob boss Anthony Scotto - testified at Rackover’s trial monday, telling the court that his former friend called him up telling him he had a ghastly confession to make, the Post reports.
“I slit his throat and I stabbed him and we wrapped the body up in a comforter and threw it out the window so the cameras wouldn’t see,” Ruggiero recalled Rackover telling him, according to the Post.
After the alleged killing, Rackover said he went along like nothing had happened, Ruggiero said.
“Do you want to hear the sickest part of it all?” Rackover allegedly asked his pal, according to the Post. “I came home and ordered pancakes from a diner and ate it like nothing ever happened.”
According to the Post, Ruggiero said he initially didn’t believe his friend’s grisly tale, telling him “James, you’re a good little Jew boy from Manhattan. You’re not in Goodfellas.”
Ruggiero said it was not until the next day, when he saw the crime scene outside Rackover’s apartment, that he knew Rackover may have been telling the truth, according to the Post.
Comunale and Dillione were arrested within days of Comunale’s disappearance, and prosecutors said Dillione gave police instructions on where to find the dead man’s body in a shallow grave, where he and Rackover had allegedly tried to burn the body before burying it.
The case also focused scrutiny on Rackover’s past, and his relationship with Jeffrey Rackover, who was initially described as his father. In the weeks that followed, it came out that Rackover had taken the younger man — previously named James Beaudoin — under his wing, allegedly as a lover, according to a 2017 report in the Post.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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