The finger-pointing continued this week as the defendants charged in the killing of a Westhill High School grad returned to a Manhattan courtroom.

Attorneys for Lawrence Dilione and Max Gemma had previously implicated co-defendant James Rackover as the killer, according to court documents.

However, for the first time, Rackover’s attorneys have now accused Dilione of being solely responsible for Stamford resident Joseph Comunale’s death, according to court documents.

“Lest there be any doubt — Rackover will elicit evidence and argue that Lawrence Dilione’s conduct caused the death of Joseph Communale and that Rackover did not act in concert with Dilione to cause Communale’s death,” attorneys Maurice Sercarz and Robert Caliendo wrote in the court documents.

The filings by the attorneys are part of an ongoing effort to have their clients tried separately.

“Our reply papers speak for themselves,” Caliendo said Wednesday. “We believe the defenses are plainly antagonistic and this is a textbook example of a case where there should be different trials for the defendants.”

The three defendants appeared in court Tuesday when it was also announced Judge Charles Solomon, who will soon retire, was handing off the case to Judge James Burke, a former prosecutor with the New York County District Attorney’s Office.

Rackover, 26, of New York, and Dilione, 28, of Jersey City, N.J., have been indicted on murder, hindering prosecution, tampering with physical evidence and concealment of a corpse charges.

They are accused of beating Comunale, 26, to death in Rackover’s New York City apartment last November before cutting up his body and burying him near the New Jersey shore.

Gemma, 29, of Oceanport, N.J., has been charged with hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence.

Gemma’s attorney Mark Bederow has also filed a motion to have his client’s case severed. According to court documents, Bederow said any illegal actions Gemma took were directly related to witnessing Rackover’s unprovoked and “extraordinarily viscous” attack on Comunale.

“Gemma’s defense will prove that Rackover, without provocation, attacked Comunale,” Bederow wrote. “We will prove the bloody mess caused by Rackover’s attack led him to panic about returning to prison, which in turn led him to order Gemma, who was in a relatively close proximity to the living-room attack, to take off the clothes he was wearing at the time Rackover assaulted Comunale.”

According to court documents, Dilione admitted to punching Comunale in a fight over cigarettes. Dilione’s attorney Michael Pappa wrote in his motion that Rackover then punched and kicked Comunale before stabbing him in the head and killing him, according to court documents.

The defendants are scheduled to return to court on Dec. 6 when Burke could decide if the cases will be tried separately.

jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com