A body was found today in Lincoln, Massachusetts. It was later confirmed to be the remains of Stephen Rakes, a key witness in the James “Whitey” Bulger case. Could this murder have been ordered from the court room?
The body of Stephen “Stippo” Rakes was found near a walking path. Lincoln Police immediately secured the area, and called the coroner’s office. He was later identified by his finger prints.
“There was a body found in Lincoln,” said Stephanie Guyotte, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office. “No further comment at this time.”
After the judge in Bulger’s trial was informed about the incident, he gathered lawyers from both sides for a private conference.
Rakes was to testify that Bulger, and long-time partner Stephen Flemmi, threatened him and put a gun to his daughter’s head. They forced Rakes to surrender his south Boston liquor to them, which they used as their headquarters for gang operations.
Authorities told Rakes’ family that it was an apparent suicide. However, a source speaking for the family said “he had no phone, no wallet, and police are still looking for his car.” The federal attorney’s office said they had no comment at the time.
Steve Davis, a long-time friend of Rakes, had met with him every morning for breakfast before the trial. He was unable to reach him last evening, and he did not show up for breakfast. Davis told ABC news that “Stippo would not kill himself. Absolutely not.” Bulger is accused of killing Davis’ daughter.
Buger’s former partner, Flemmi, is scheduled to testify today.
Will authorities decide it was a suicide or murder? And, if it is labeled a homicide, did Bulger, an accused crime boss and murderer, order a murder from the courtroom?
Alfred James reporting