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

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dead Whitey Bulger trial witness may have been poisoned

Stephen Rakes, who hoped to testify in the Whitey Bulger trial, was found dead. 
Stephen (Stippo) Rakes (left), once a potential witness who waited decades to testify against the notorious Bulger, was found dead in the middle of the trial. Investigators are now looking into his death.

“They’re looking into everything,” the source said Friday, adding that detectives in the case have instructed the medical examiner to look for certain chemicals, including poisons, that may have caused the sudden death of Stephen "Stippo" Rakes.
Rakes, 59, a fixture in the gallery at Bulger’s murder and racketeering trial, was last seen outside Boston Federal Court on July 16. His body was found off a road in Lincoln, Mass., the next day. Investigators later said it appeared his body had been dumped in the area. Rakes’ car was found about eight miles away in a McDonald’s parking lot.

Rakes had long claimed that he was strong-armed into selling his South Boston liquor store to Bulger and had waited decades to testify against him. But the day before his body was found, prosecutors told Rakes that he was not needed as a witness in the case.
Stephen Davis, whose sister, Debbie, was allegedly murdered by Bulger and who had become friendly with Rakes in the last two years, said his pal was upset that he would not get to testify against Bulger but was not depressed enough to commit suicide.
“I know it wasn’t suicide,” said Davis. “He was full of life, explosive with happiness.”

Other friends recalled how Rakes was a well-liked, happy-go-lucky guy whose brightly colored shirts reflected his personality.
“He was always upbeat, always happy, always in a good mood,” said Shawn Donahue, whose father was killed when Bulger allegedly opened fire on another man outside a waterfront restaurant in 1982.
But Donahue, who met Rakes about 13 years ago when they began attending court hearings on Bulger while the mobster was still on the lam, said he doesn’t believe the Winter Hill Gang boss was behind his pal’s death.
If it turns out Rakes was in fact murdered, it was likely done by someone who would “get something out of it,” Donahue said.



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