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Charges in death of Stephen Rakes updated to murder

Posted by Your Town  November 15, 2013 05:16 PM

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The following is a press release from the Middlesex District Attorney's Office:

Charges against William Camuti, 69, of Sudbury, have been upgraded to murder for the death of Stephen Rakes, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced today.

A recalled Middlesex Grand Jury indicted Camuti today on a charge of murder. He was previously indicted October 3 on charges of attempted murder, misleading police, and unlawful disposition of human remains.

An arraignment date in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn has not yet been scheduled.

“The defendant lured the victim to a meeting at which they were to discuss a business deal. Instead the defendant used the meeting as an occasion to serve the victim a poisoned iced coffee,” said District Attorney Ryan. “Based upon the ruling of the Medical Examiner we have now charged the defendant with murder. As the case moves forward, we intend to hold the defendant accountable for this premeditated murder.”

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled in October that the cause of Rakes’ death was acute cyanide toxicity and the manner of death was homicide.

The body of Rakes, 59, of Quincy – with no identification, keys or cell phone – was discovered at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 17 in a wooded area off Mill Street in Lincoln.

Lincoln Police and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office immediately launched an investigation.

Surveillance video showed Rakes leaving the Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse the afternoon of July 16, where he had been regularly attending the trial of Whitey Bulger. He appeared to be wearing the same clothing when his body was found.

The investigation revealed that Camuti and Rakes had a longstanding business relationship. The defendant is alleged to have owed Rakes a significant amount of money which Rakes was attempting to collect. Based on evidence gathered by investigators, Camuti and Rakes spoke by phone on Tuesday, July 16 and Camuti requested a meeting to discuss a potential investment property in Wilmington.

Camuti allegedly met the victim around 1:45 p.m. at McDonald’s on Main Street in Waltham on July 16. The defendant purchased two iced coffees, one of which he had allegedly mixed with two teaspoons of potassium cyanide. He gave the laced drink to the victim, who drank from it.

It is alleged that the defendant drove around Waltham, Woburn, Burlington and Lincoln for several hours with the victim in the vehicle. It is further alleged the defendant dumped the body of Rakes in the wooded area in Lincoln where it was found the next day.

During the ensuing investigation, Camuti who was the last person known to have seen or spoken to Rakes on July 16 was interviewed by police. It is alleged that on two consecutive days Camuti misled these investigators.

Camuti was arrested August 2 and arraigned in Concord District Court, where he was held without bail following a dangerousness hearing.

These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The incident remains under investigation by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and the Lincoln Police.

The prosecutor assigned to the case is Assistant District Attorney Adrienne Lynch, Chief of Homicide. The Victim Witness Advocate is Kristin D’Agnelli.

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