Mass. man charged in alleged Bulger victim's death

AP News
Posted: Nov 15, 2013 7:07 PM

WOBURN, Mass. (AP) — A man has been charged with murder in the July poisoning death of an alleged extortion victim of Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.

Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said William Camuti, 69, of Sudbury, was indicted Friday on the upgraded charge in the death of Stephen Rakes, 59, of Quincy.

Prosecutors say Camuti poisoned Rakes' iced coffee when they met over a business deal. A medical examiner confirmed last month that Rakes' death was a homicide by cyanide poisoning.

Authorities say Rakes' death was not connected to the Bulger case.

Camuti has previously pleaded not guilty to charges, including attempted murder in Rakes' death. Prosecutors said a Superior Court arraignment date hasn't been scheduled. A message was left Friday for Camuti's attorney.

Rakes had hoped to testify in Bulger's trial but wasn't called by prosecutors. Bulger was sentenced Thursday to two life terms in a broad racketeering case that included involvement in 11 killings.

State prosecutors said Camuti owed Rakes money and invited him to a July 16 meeting at a McDonald's restaurant in Waltham, a suburb west of Boston, to discuss a real estate deal.

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Camuti allegedly poisoned Rakes' drink and drove him around for hours. Authorities say Camuti dumped Rakes' body in the woods in the nearby suburb of Lincoln, where it was found the next day.

Rakes had learned just before meeting Camuti that he wouldn't be called as a witness against Bulger. Rakes blamed Bulger for seizing control of his South Boston liquor store to use as headquarters for Boston's Irish mob in 1984.