Bulger Witness' Death Ruled a Murder
ME's office finds he died of cyanide poisoning, but police say it's not related to trial
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 20, 2013 3:22 PM CDT
Stephen Rakes smiles outside the liquor store he once owned in the South Boston neighborhood of Boston.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

(Newser) – The Massachusetts medical examiner's office has determined that cyanide poisoning killed Stephen Rakes, an alleged extortion victim of Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger who had hoped to testify at Bulger's trial, prosecutors announced today. The medical examiner's office concluded that Rakes, 59, died of acute cyanide toxicity in July and ruled his death a homicide. Authorities say his death wasn't related to the Bulger case.

Rakes' business associate, William Camuti, is charged with attempted murder and other crimes for allegedly poisoning Rakes' iced coffee. Camuti has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say Camuti owed Rakes money and lured him to a meeting where he poisoned his drink then drove Rakes around for hours before dumping his body.