Woman charged with murder, arson in 75-year-old man's death in Centre Island

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A Long Beach woman is accused of killing the man she had been involved with for years, then setting his Centre Island home on fire to cover up the crime.

Police say 54-year-old Jennifer Gross was arrested Friday in connection to the 2018 murder of James Coppola, 75.

Coppola's body was found inside his mansion on Centre Island Road last November. Video from the scene shows that the home was fully engulfed in flames before the victim's body was discovered.

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Police say Gross and the victim were involved in a toxic, on-and-off relationship for about two decades.

They say Gross went to Coppola's home in November of last year demanding money. When a physical altercation broke out, Gross allegedly grabbed a pot or a pan from the kitchen and beat Coppola to death, according to police.

After the alleged murder, authorities say Gross stole jewelry from the victim, set the house on fire and then fled the scene in a taxi cab. Investigators tell News 12 that Gross eventually pawned the jewelry off -- helping police identify her as the alleged killer.

Gross is charged with murder and arson. She was held without bail.

Asked for comment as she was being led from police headquarters to her arraignment on Saturday, Gross said, "There are two sides to every story. The truth will come out in court."

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