Whitey Bulger Potential Witness Found Dead

The body of 59 year-old Stephen "Stippo" Rakes was found with no signs of trauma.
5:46 | 07/18/13

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Transcript for Whitey Bulger Potential Witness Found Dead
This is a special room. Report from ABC news. A damp afternoon with the CBC news digital special report a twist today in the trial of accused mob boss Whitey Bulger. Stephen rakes -- scheduled to testify against Bulger has been found dead on the side of a road. -- -- reports indicate no obvious signs of physical trauma but. Massachusetts police are investigating prosecutors -- the Bulger was the head of the South Boston -- the inspiration. For Jack Nicholson's character in -- -- Scorsese film the departed and the details of this federal trial are now playing out seemingly. Like a script we're joined now by ABC's Eric trustees on the case -- At first blush this seems almost like a plot twist in a mob movie so what do we now know about Stephen -- final days. -- it's it's amazing -- the you have Whitey Bulger on trial in a witness showing up dead it's like. The old days in Boston seemingly Stephen rakes was somebody who is prepared to testify for the prosecution at Whitey Bulger. Tried to take away -- did take away his liquor store in South Boston. Threatened he says is -- Stanley with a gun and then took his liquor stores and used it as a front. For the winter hill gang. And -- was said to be eager to testify and and waiting all these years to finally tell this story to a jury. To help put Whitey Bulger behind bars. Prosecutors earlier this week informed him that he would not get that chance there had been some conflicting testimony and prosecutors informed breaks that his was not going to be needed this week or or at all during -- testimonies and -- that were told by friends -- became despondent. His body was found Wednesday afternoon in Lincoln Massachusetts outside Boston near a walking past. And investigators are now waiting for the medical examiner to determine cause of death. Now if he had been called to testify what likely was he expected to tell the jury -- you said that he was eager. Share the information the connections that he had to Whitey Bulger but that details though I think. So many people were waiting to see how that would play out in court. He was adamant that Bulger and an associate Stephen Fleming who actually testified today. During the during the trial. Came to his liquor store in South Boston and they wondered -- he said because it was the only one in town with a parking lot -- -- -- -- only -- -- parking. They came to his house they threaten to Stanley at gunpoint he says. And then essentially demanded that. They take over -- the liquor store which they could venues as their headquarters and as a legitimate business to front there they're criminal enterprise and that would have gone to. The heart of some of the allegations against Bulger who's been accused of being on a murderous crime boss in Boston. Four for for several decades ending only once he he fled in. Was only a captured recently in in California it's 83 years old. And this was a testimony that that race had long been wanting to give testimony to prosecutors said he would not have to give. And -- that again friends say he was just to despondent over that. There was certainly no lack drama inside the courtroom today as you had mentioned Stephen the rifleman Flemmi -- -- against Bulger. What did -- say about his relationship with Whitey Bulger. Welded the two had been not only. Criminals together it's it's been alleged but also FBI informants but there's clearly no love lost there are plenty expletives flying between the two today. In court as the jury was getting up to leave Flemmi is going to be back on the stand. For up for another -- but -- we've seen this before when when Bulger has been confronting people he hasn't seen in fifteen years. As he spent most of his adult life. In recent. Decades anyway on the run. Now the -- the drama kind of comes back around to this federal courthouse in South Boston. The added twist today is is Stephen -- found found dead in and authorities. Trying now down to figure out that the circumstances of -- death what's been happening -- Bulger himself inside the courtroom mines and it's been a pretty active scene. Well he's he comes to court every day from -- from prison where he's been cooperative and he is. Been showing up in it and occasionally that you. Lashing out at some of that the witnesses who have been testifying against him. Remember these are these these are accused mobsters who at one point had their own dealings with the FBI. You've -- -- you know internal conversations that have been hidden for years finally spilling out. -- to open testimony. And things get heated and it is very much a drama playing out -- courtroom. Now what do we expect the trial go to jury and -- -- -- -- for further event is in fact Whitey Bulger is convicted what kind of a sentence if you keepsakes. Police 83 so any sentence is effectively a life sentence and there is some some thought that this case could go to the jury a little bit sooner. Then perhaps. Had been had been planned prosecutors. Really called -- witness list from you know hundreds down a little bit and so. They may be close to 22 resting their case. Still -- would would Stephen Flemmi on the stand this former associate. And former -- informant with the FBI. Things could really get interesting in the next couple days it was certainly have to wait and see how the courtroom will be playing -- ABC's -- her ski. With the details on this case Aaron thank you again a potential witness in the Whitey Bulger case in Boston found dead just miles from the courtroom. -- a complete report on abcnews.com. For now I'm Dan -- learning or quit this ABC news digital special reports. This has been a special report from ABC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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