Steven Rakes Dead: Witness In Whitey Bulger Trial Found Dead
Steven Rakes was set to testify against James “Whitey” Bulger (pictured above) in the current trial against the alleged big-time Boston mobster before he was found dead.
Rakes claimed to be a victim of one of Bulger’s extortion schemes, alleging that he had extorted him out of his liquor store in the 1980s. He was eager to add his testimony to the case, but on Thursday, his body was discovered in Lincoln, Mass.
"There were no obvious signs of trauma," according to a statement from the Middlesex district attorney's office. "The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death."
Prior to his unexpected death, Rakes had been forthcoming with the details of the alleged extortion. According to him, Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi had busted into his house in 1984 and demanded he turn over his South Boston liquor store. When he refused, a gun was placed on the table as a threat. Rakes’ daughter, who was one at the time, picked up the gun and began playing with it. Rakes then decided to let them buy the store and he received an envelope with $67,000 in cash.
Bulger was arrested two years ago after successfully evading law enforcement for 16 years. During his alleged organized crime career throughout the 70s and 80s, he had made millions through extortion, drug dealing and assorted other criminal activity. The charges leveled at Bulger include the participation in 19 murders, money laundering, stockpiling weapons and extortion.
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