Closing arguments begin in William Camuti murder trial

WOBURN, MASS. (WHDH) - Closing arguments began Monday in the trial of a man accused of poisoning an extortion victim of Whitey Bulger.

Prosecutors said 72-year-old William Camuti, of Sudbury, purchased an iced coffee from a Woburn McDonald’s and poisoned it with cyanide before giving it to Stephen Rakes, 59. The two men had been business associates and best friends. Prosecutors said Camuti owed Rakes $100,000 and could not pay him back.

Rakes’ body was found with no identification by a jogger in Lincoln in 2013. State Police said Camuti confessed to killing Rakes in the hospital but his lawyer said the confession is not valid and that the state only has circumstantial evidence.

Rakes’ death came during the racketeering trial of Bulger and Rakes had been hoping to testify against him but was never called. Rakes claimed Bulger forced him to sell his liquor store for pennies on the dollar in 1984. The investigation into Rakes’ death became focused on Camuti after it was determined his death had nothing to do with Bulger.

While prosecutors used evidence like GPS and cellphone records to place Camuti at the scene of the crime, none of the witnesses called by either side in the trial said they saw him poison Rakes or dump his body in the woods.

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