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Death of Bulger trial witness ruled a homicide

Oct. 21, 2013 at 9:16 AM   |   Comments

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BOSTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Medical examiners said a former associate of reputed Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger died of acute cyanide toxicity, ruling the death a homicide.

Stephen "Stippo" Rakes died in July the same day he was dropped from the prosecution witness list in the Bulger trial. He reportedly had been eager to describe for the jury how Bulger extorted money from him at gunpoint while his daughters watched.

Prosecutors said Rakes' business associate William Camuti, 69, confessed to spiking the man's iced coffee with potassium cyanide, but the death was unrelated to the Bulger case. The two men allegedly had a business dispute and Camuti owed Rakes money, the Boston Herald reported.

Camuti had been charged with attempted murder, misleading police and unlawful disposition of human remains, the Boston Globe reported.

Chelf Guyotte, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney, said additional charges were expected now that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner officially ruled the death a homicide. The ruling was issued Friday, Guyotte said.

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