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Physical exam for suspect in Hofstra grad’s murder, attorney says

The body of Joseph Comunale, a Hofstra University

The body of Joseph Comunale, a Hofstra University graduate, was found in a shallow grave in the coastal town of Oceanport, New Jersey, on Nov. 16, 2016. He had been reported missing after he traveled to a party on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Nov. 12, 2016, police said. Credit: Facebook

Investigators got a court order to do a physical examination of James Rackover, the Manhattan man who is a suspect in the murder of Hofstra graduate Joseph Comunale, Rackover’s defense attorney said Tuesday.

Lawyer Maurice Sercarz said the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office obtained the order for the exam in an effort to see if Rackover, 25, had any injuries or bruises that could be traced to the homicide and any struggle from it.

A spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. declined to comment about the examination or any court order.

Comunale’s body, which had 15 stab wounds and was partially burned, was found in a shallow grave in the coastal town of Oceanport, New Jersey, last week. Comunale had been partying on the Upper East Side the weekend of Nov. 13 when he went missing after being seen in Rackover’s apartment on East 59th Street.

Rackover, who has a close relationship with noted jeweler Jeffrey Rackover, and Lawrence Dilione, 28, of Jersey City were arrested last week on charges they concealed a corpse, hindered prosecution and tampered with physical evidence. However, they weren’t charged with homicide.

On Monday, prosecutors filed a notice of grand jury action in the case but didn’t reveal what charges were in the indictment. Sercarz has said that he thought police and prosecutors were having trouble determining who killed Comunale, a resident of Stamford, Connecticut. Police said they were still talking with witnesses and believed they could make a homicide case.

Both Rackover and Dilione had bail set at $300,000 cash last week. As of Tuesday, Rackover had not made bail. A spokesman for Vance said Dilione’s attorney Tuesday surrendered his client’s passport, an indication that he may be close to posting bail.

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