Whitey Bulger Not Connected to the Murder of a Witness

Authorities say Stephen Rakes was murdered by a man who was in debt to him.

It’s a day of endings in the trial of Whitey Bulger, and today we got a conclusion in one of the larger outstanding mysteries: the death of would-be witness Stephen Rakes. There were a lot of questions when Rakes, who long alleged Bulger forced him to sell his liquor store at gunpoint, turned up dead without keys, wallet, or cell phone. It was just one day after he learned he wouldn’t be allowed to testify in Bulger’s trial, and of course he was one of the most vocal critics of a known gangster.

Turns out, according to Middlesex County district attorney Marian Ryan, Rakes was murdered, just not by Bulger or anyone connected to him. Authorities have charged William Camuti, 69, of Sudbury with the murder, saying he poisoned Rakes’s iced coffee at McDonald’s after several business deals left him deep in debt to Rakes.

“Mr. Rakes was lured to this meeting on the promise of a real estate deal in which he could invest to make a significant amount of money,’’ Ryan said, according to Boston.com. “However, that deal, did not, in fact, exist.”

Ryan said the two men met at a Waltham McDonald’s, where Camuti purchased two cups of iced coffee and laced one of them with two teaspoons of potassium cyanide. Then, Camuti drove around for with Rakes for several hours before eventually dropping his body in a wooded area in Lincoln, where it was found without keys, a wallet, or cellphone. Horrible.