Cyanide killed potential witness in trial of Boston gangster Bulger
BOSTON — The Massachusetts medical examiner's office determined that cyanide poisoning killed an alleged extortion victim of Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger who had hoped to testify at Bulger's trial, prosecutors said on Sunday.
The medical examiner's office concluded that Stephen Rakes, 59, of Quincy died of acute cyanide toxicity in July and ruled his death a homicide, according to MaryBeth Long, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney's office.
Authorities said Rakes' death was not related to the Bulger case.
Rakes' business associate, William Camuti, 69, of Sudbury, is charged with attempted murder and other crimes for allegedly poisoning Rakes' iced coffee. Camuti has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors said Camuti owed Rakes money and lured him to a meeting where he poisoned his drink, then drove Rakes around for hours before dumping his body.
Long said the district attorney's office intends to file additional charges against Camuti based on the findings of the medical examiner.
A phone message for Camuti's attorney, Stanley Norkunas, was not returned.
Rakes' body was found in a wooded area of the Boston suburb of Lincoln on July 17, just a day after he learned he would not be called as a witness against Bulger.
Rakes openly despised Bulger and blamed him for seizing control of his South Boston liquor store to use as headquarters for Boston's Irish mob in 1984.
Rakes said that Bulger and his buddies extorted the store from him at gunpoint in 1984 while Rakes' two young daughters were in the same room.
Bulger was convicted in August of 11 killings and dozens of other gangland crimes. He is set to be sentenced next month.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Obama’s planned trip to Ethiopia riles some emigres
- Anti-Clinton crowd looks left to Sanders
- After year of Washington legal pot sales, taxes top $70M
- Volunteers key in marine rescues
- Some Texans fear military training mission has ulterior motives at Obama’s direction
- Believers at S.C. church acknowledge pain, anger challenge their tenets
- After years in obscurity, Medal of Honor recipient to be reburied with military honors
- Solar-powered plane crosses Pacific Ocean
- Pentagon leery of Russia’s ‘hybrid warfare’
- Washington’s wildfire season gets off to an early, unprecedented start
- 66 riders safely evacuated as 400-foot Ferris wheel stops in Florida