Long Island Woman Accused Of Beating Beau To Death, Setting House On Fire

WCBS 880 Newsroom
September 21, 2019 - 2:06 pm
Jennifer Gross

Nassau County Police

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – A Long Island woman has been charged with murder and arson after police say she beat her long-time boyfriend to death and set fire to his Centre Island mansion 10 months ago.

Jennifer Gross, 54, is accused of killing 75-year-old James Coppola before starting the fire on Nov. 20, 2018.

Gross, of Long Beach, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and second-degree arson in Hempstead court on Saturday. Outside the courthouse, she told reporters that the “truth will come out in court.”

If convicted, she could spend the rest of her life in prison.

Nassau County police say Gross had been involved in a contentious, on-and-off romantic relationship with Coppola for 20 years that included “violence” and the “stealing of money.”

Coppola had an order of protection that had prohibited Gross from going near him, according to police.

Police say Gross demanded money from Coppola on Nov. 20 and that a struggle ensued and she beat Coppola to death.

“She took something, a household kitchen item and started to beat him with that. As a result of that beating, he expired,” Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick said Saturday. 

She then allegedly stole jewelry and set the home on fire with an accelerant in a bid to cover up the crime.

Police say she was arrested after pawning the jewelry, an act investigators were able to connect back to her.

Gross is married to former Nassau County judge David Gross, who spent time in prison for laundering money from stolen jewelry.