Key Witness in Whitey Bulger Trial Found Dead
Stephen Rakes was to say that Bulger threatened his daughter at gunpoint
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jul 18, 2013 10:30 AM CDT
Stephen Rakes smiles after greeting an acquaintance outside the liquor store he once owned in the South Boston neighborhood of Boston, June 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

(Newser) – A key witness in the trial of James "Whitey" Bulger has been found dead in Lincoln, Mass., ABC News reports. Stephen "Stippo" Rakes was supposed to testify that Bulger and associate Stephen Flemmi had threatened his daughter at gunpoint to force him to let them use his South Boston liquor store as a headquarters, federal prosecutors say. Another Bulger crony, Kevin Weeks, disputed the story in his testimony last week.

Rakes was found with no wallet and no phone; police identified him with a fingerprint match. They've told his family that his death appears to be a suicide, but friend Steve Davis, who met Rakes for breakfast every day before court, doesn't buy it. "Strippo would not kill himself. Absolutely not," he says. " He was looking forward to taking the stand. He told me over and over he had a big bombshell to drop."

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Key Witness in Whitey Bulger Trial Found Dead is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 30 comments
Jul 18, 2013 4:52 PM CDT
Oh oh, someone effed up in protecting this guy.
Jul 18, 2013 4:08 PM CDT
Now whether it is officially called "witness protection" or not, you know that the feds were guarding this guy. So, either someone didn't do their job, or someone was on the inside. Either way, the FBI is responsible for this death. Time to set a couple of stings for FBI agents and see who comes tiptoeing in to make the kill...
Jul 18, 2013 2:53 PM CDT
Reminds one of the search for the body of Jimmy Hoffa...there is now 'no evidence' to prove that that rubout happened; just like Mr. Rakes can not now present his evidence, either.