(WOBURN, Mass.) — Stephen Rakes, a potential witness in the James “Whitey” Bulger murder trial whose body was discarded at the side of a rural road, was poisoned by a man who laced his ice coffee with cyanide, prosecutors announced on Friday.
William Camuti, 69, of Sudbury, was arrested Friday and charged with attempted murder because he “intentionally put poison in the victim’s ice coffee and disposed of the body,” said Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.
Ryan was quick to point out that Camuti and Rakes had been involved in various business dealings and that the suspect was motivated by the money he owed Rakes. Rakes’ murder was not part of the Bulger proceedings, she said.
“It is believed the defendant owed money to the victim and the victim was expecting to be repaid,” Ryan said. She said Camuti “owed him a significant amount of money.”
Rakes, 59, met Camuti at the federal courthouse on June 16, Ryan said. Camuti then poisoned Rakes and drove the body around until he dumped it on the side of a rural road in the small town of Lincoln the following day, the prosecutor said.
That same day Rakes had been told by federal prosecutors he would not be testifying.
“Surveillance video showed Rakes leaving the Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse the afternoon of July 16, where he had been regularly attending the trial of Whitey Bulger,” Ryan said.
Rakes had long insisted that Bulger extorted his South Boston liquor store after threatening his toddler daughter at gunpoint. That claim has been disputed during the Bulger trial.
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