MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Long Beach woman was sentenced to 22 years in prison and five years post-release supervision for the killing of a Centre Island man on November 20, 2018.
Jennifer Gross, 55, pled guilty on March 12 before Judge Meryl Berkowitz to manslaughter in the first degree (a B violent felony).
“This case represents the violent end of an off and on relationship that included police-involvement, money and arguments back and forth over the years,” DA Singas said. “It was revealed through the excellent investigative work of the Nassau County Police Department and my office that James Coppola was killed in a fit of rage when a demand for money was not met. That rage was followed by calculated efforts to cover up the killing and theft by fire. This sentence holds the defendant responsible for her actions and seeks to provide justice to the Coppola family.”
DA Singas said that on November 20, 2018, between 4:30 pm and 6:00 pm, the defendant went to 75-year-old James Coppola’s Centre Island home to demand money. When Coppola refused to give her money, Gross attacked and beat him with an object from the home about his body and head – ultimately killing him. The defendant then set the house on fire to cover up his death.
Before setting the house on fire, Gross stole jewelry from the victim.
The defendant and victim had a romantic relationship that lasted approximately 20 years.
Deputy Bureau Chief Jared Rosenblatt of DA Singas’ Major Offense Bureau and Senior Assistant District Attorney Rachael Whalen of the County Court Trial Bureau are prosecuting this case. Jeff Groder, Esq. represents the defendant.