Long Island woman arrested 10 months after boyfriend killed, mansion set on fire

Carol D'Auria
September 21, 2019 - 10:28 am
Jennier Gross

Nassau County Police

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MINEOLA, N.Y. (1010 WINS) – Police on Long Island have arrested the long-time lover of a man killed after he was beaten and his home was set on fire last November.

Jennifer Gross, a 54-year-old from Long Beach, faces second-degree murder and second-degree arson charges after she was arrested Friday.

Her arrest stems from a fire in Centre Island on Nov. 20 that killed 75-year-old James Coppola.

Police said Saturday that Gross had a contentious, 20-year relationship with Coppola that ended with Gross beating Coppola with a pot or pan and setting fire to his house.

Gross demanded jewelry from Coppola before beating him and burning the home to cover up her crime, police allege. Coppola was burned beyond recognition.

At the time of the fire, Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick said investigators immediately suspected arson.

“The intensity of the fire is what’s concerning to us,” Fitzpatrick said. “We don’t know what was the source of that fire. It’s not in an area of the house, such as the kitchen, that would be able to fuel that fire to make it so intense.”

On Saturday, Fitzpatrick said Coppola had an order of protection in place that had prohibited Gross from going near him.

After killing Coppola and setting the fire, Gross allegedly fled the home in a taxi and pawned the jewelry. 

Police said it took 10 months to put together the against Gross. Surveillance video helped their case.

“We were able to show that she robbed his jewelry from him on that night,” Fitzpatrick said.

Gross was brought from police headquarters to court for her arraignment in Hempstead on Saturday.

She pleaded not guilty Saturday and told reporters, “the truth will come out.” She was held without bail after being charged.

She could spend the rest of her life in prison if convicted.

Gross is married to former Long Island judge David Gross, who served time after being convicted of conspiracy to launder money. The money came, from all things, stolen jewelry. 

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