Key Witness in Bulger Case Found Dead

Authorities have positively identified a corpse found near a walking path in Lincoln, Massachusetts as the body of Stephen Rakes, a leading witness in the case against notorious Boston mobster Whitey Bulger. A South Boston native in his late 50s, Rakes had planned to testify that Bulger took over his liquor store at gunpoint and turned it into his own headquarters. After identifying the body, police said the death appeared to be a suicide. But close companions of the victim remain skeptical. “[He] would not kill himself. Absolutely not,'' said longtime friend Steve Davis. "He was looking forward to taking the stand. He told me over and over he had a big bombshell to drop." Bulger faces 19 murder charges and 13 other counts.