A day after learning he was dropped from the prosecution witness list in the trial of Boston Crime boss “Whitey” Bulger, Stephen Rakes is found dead. Rakes attended nearly every day of Bulger’s six-week trial.
He has long accused Bulger of extorting his South Boston liquor store at gunpoint in 1984 to turn it into a mob headquarters. A Bulger associate, Kevin Weeks, denied those claims in his testimony. Rakes had been waiting for his chance refute Weeks’ claims in testimony of his own, but prosecutors told him earlier this week they no longer planned on calling him to the stand. Investigators have not yet officially determined Rakes’ cause of death.
Some media reports are calling the death suspicious, while those close to him are dismissing the possibility of suicide.