Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Body of witness set to testify against Whitey Bulger found on side of Massachusetts road

Stephen Rakes arrives for the first day of accused mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger's trial at the US Federal Courthouse in Boston.

A key witness in the trial of notorious Boston gangster 'Whitey' Bulger has been found dead by the side of a road in Lincoln, Mass., according to a report.

ABC News says police believe the corpse on Mill Road is likely that of Stephen "Stippo" Rakes.

Rakes was due to testify that Bulger and an associate threatened his daughter at gunpoint and forced Rakes to hand over his Boston liquor store, which later became a headquarters for the mob boss.

James "Whitey" Bulger

Police have told the Rakes family the death appeared to be suicide, according to ABC. But a family source told the network "he had no phone, no wallet, and police are still looking for his car."

"Stippo would not kill himself. Absolutely not,'' Rakes' friend Steve Davis told ABC News.

"He was looking forward to taking the stand. He told me over and over he had a big bombshell to drop. He had everything to live for and was looking forward to his day in court."

"It doesn't make sense.''

Meanwhile, another witness and former Bulger associate, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, was scheduled to take the stand today.

The two men haven't seen each other in almost 20 years. Flemmi will sit just 10 feet away from Bulger in what promises to be a tense meeting as Flemmi is asked to name Bulger as a killer, an FBI informant and the man who he watched strangle two 26-year-old women.

Bulger has already had two profanity-laced outbursts during the trial, one directed at his former protege, Kevin Weeks, and the other at a former FBI agent who admitted taking payoffs from Bulger.

Investigators say Flemmi's testimony will be the ultimate betrayal to Bulger, given their long relationship as criminal partners and friends.

"These guys were equal partners. One was not subservient to the other," said Michael Kendall, a former federal prosecutor who investigated several of Bulger's associates.

"Now, with Flemmi testifying against him, I think it's going to be like when Dracula fights Frankenstein — the two personifications of evil at each other's throats," he said.

Bulger, 83, is accused in a 32-count racketeering indictment of playing a role in 19 killings in the 1970s and '80s while he allegedly led the Winter Hill Gang. He is also charged with money laundering and extortion.



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