Bulger Trial Witness Murdered With Poisoned Iced Coffee

A witness scheduled to testify in the trial of accused crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger was murdered with poisoned iced coffee from McDonald’s, though not in connection with the case, a Massachusetts prosecutor said.

Stephen Rakes’s body was found July 17 in a wooded area in Lincoln, Massachusetts, a day after he was seen at Bulger’s trial about 20 minutes away in Boston. William Camuti, 69, was arrested today in Boston and charged with attempted murder, misleading police and unlawful disposition of human remains, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement.

Rakes and Camuti, who were business associates and had known each other for “many years,” met at a McDonald’s on July 16 to discuss a business deal, Ryan said. Camuti, who probably owed money to Rakes, put potassium cyanide in Rakes’s coffee, drove him around the area for several hours and then dumped his body, according to the statement.

Bulger, accused of killing 19 people while running a criminal gang in South Boston from the 1970s to the early 1990s, was captured in Santa Monica, California, in 2011 after 16 years on the run. Before that, he worked as both the head of a criminal organization and an informant for the FBI, prosecutors said.

Rakes had been attending the Bulger trial daily, and was in the federal courthouse in Boston earlier on the day he was killed, according to Ryan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janelle Lawrence in Boston at jlawrence62@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net;

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