Our founding attorney, Brad Bailey, is currently defending a man named William Camuti, who has been accused of poisoning a man named Stephen Rakes. Mr. Rakes was seen leaving James “Whitey” Bulger’s trial in Boston. He drove to a McDonald’s in Waltham, where Mr. Camuti is accused of serving him iced coffee laced with a lethal dose of cyanide. According to the prosecution, Mr. Camuti poisoned his longtime friend in order to avoid paying a debt of more than $100,000.
Mr. Camuti, who is 72 and walks with a cane, has pleaded not guilty to charges of 1st-degree murder, improper disposal of a body, and 2 counts of lying to law enforcement. A jury of 10 women and 6 men have been selected for the trial, which people have estimated will last 3 weeks.
Mr. Bailey has disputed the prosecution’s claim that Mr. Camuti wanted Stephen Rakes dead. He states Mr. Camuti faced financial trouble, but Rakes offered him a way to stay solvent through proposed real estate deals and a chance to shop around a multimillion-dollar judgment that Rakes received in the Bulger case. Mr. Baily is quoted as saying, “Stephen Rakes might actually have been my client’s way to come up for air given the projects they had going together.”
During interviews with police, Mr. Camuti told differing versions of the story about his meeting with Rakes and confessed to the crime days later after attempting suicide. Mr. Bailey, however, casts doubts about Mr. Camuti’s admission of guilt, saying police didn’t record their exchanges and destroyed notes from the meeting. Mr. Bailey also told jurors the prosecution hasn’t produced witnesses who saw the killing or observed the dumping of Rakes’s body. There is also no physical evidence to prove Rakes was in Mr. Camuti’s car.
The trial will resume again on April 14th, when jurors are expected to visit key locations in the case and hear testimony from the first witnesses. For those interested in learning more about the case, visit the Boston Globe article online, or visit the following websites: