Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, a possible witness in the murder trial of alleged crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger, has been found dead, authorities said.
The body of Rakes, 59, had "no obvious signs of trauma" and an autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Lincoln, Mass., Police Chief Kevin Mooney announced today.
The corpse was found on Mill Street in Lincoln yesterday at 1:30 p.m., police said.
Rakes had been on the witness list and had been eager to testify that Bulger threatened his family at gunpoint and forced him to turn his liquor store into a front for the Winter Hill Gang. But earlier this week prosecutors informed Rakes he would not be called to testify, a decision that left Rakes "despondent," a source close to his family told ABC News.
The judge overseeing the Bulger case hunkered down with lawyers in a confidential conference at the South Boston courthouse today where the trial is being held. Bulger, alleged to be a notorious and murderous crime boss and federal informant, is standing trial after being found on the lam in California two years ago.
Federal prosecutors said Rakes was supposed to testify that Bulger and associate Stephen Flemmi threatened his daughter at gunpoint, and took over his South Boston liquor store for Bulger's headquarters. Bulger sidekick Kevin Weeks testified last week Rakes' contention that Bulger's gang put a gun to his daughter's head was bogus. Read More
July 9, 2013 Libcom
Over 30,000 inmates across California’s vast prison estate have been refusing meals since yesterday morning. A further 2,300 prisoners have refused to attend work or educational classes – claiming they are sick. Prisoners are protesting against the use of a draconian solitary confinement policy that can see prisoners held in solitary for several decades – often with little or no attempt at a justification.
California currently has 10,000 prisoners in solitary confinement, and several dozen who have spent more than 20 years each in solitary.
The protest has been organised by a small group of prisoners held in solitary at Pelican Bay State Prison. They are demanding a 5 year limit on solitary confinement, the right to educational, rehabilitation opportunities, and the right to monthly phone-calls. The organisers have released the following statement:
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was formally charged Wednesday afternoon with murder, more than a week after a body was found near his Massachusetts home.
Hernandez was also charged with several counts of unlawful possession of firearms. A judge ordered him to be held without bail.
Wearing a white V-neck shirt, red sports shorts, and handcuffs in Attleboro District Court, Hernandez showed no emotion as attorneys for the victim laid out a bruising account of what allegedly happened the night semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd was killed, citing what they say is surveillance camera footage, text messages, and witnesses who were working the overnight shift who heard gunshots as evidence. He wiped tears from his face at the very end of the arraignment.
The body of Lloyd, 27, was found June 17 in an industrial park about one mile away from the ex-tight end's North Attleborough home. The death was ruled a homicide.
Hernandez, 23, was placed in handcuffs and put in a police cruiser just before 9 a.m. on Wednesday by Massachusetts State Police and North Attleborough police. Authorities have searched his home, on the Rhode Island line not far from the Patriots' stadium, several times over the past week.
Less than two hours after the arrest, the Patriots announced they were releasing Hernandez.
June 21, 2013 Rueters
WASHINGTON - The government has filed sealed criminal charges against former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who admitted leaking secrets about classified U.S. surveillance programs, U.S. sources said on Friday.
A U.S. Justice Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a criminal complaint had been filed against Snowden, who disclosed documents detailing U.S. telephone and internet surveillance efforts.
Another U.S. source, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States was preparing to seek Snowden's extradition from Hong Kong, where he is believed to be in hiding.
Earlier, the Washington Post reported that U.S. prosecutors have filed a sealed criminal complaint charging Snowden with espionage, theft and conversion of government property. The Post also reported that the United States has asked Hong Kong to detain Snowden on a provisional arrest warrant.
The criminal complaint was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Snowden's former employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, is located, the Post reported.
Documents leaked by Snowden revealed that U.S. security services had monitored data about phone calls from Verizon and Internet data from large companies such as Google and Facebook as part of counterterrorism efforts.
[This story previously aired on Feb. 23, 2013. It was updated on June 15.]
(CBS NEWS) JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- I'm Erin Moriarty. I have been covering Ryan Ferguson's case now for more than seven years. Ferguson was charged with killing a man named Kent Heitholt on Halloween night 2001.
From the beginning, there was just something not right about this case. There was plenty of physical evidence at the crime scene -- hair, fingerprints and bloody shoe prints -- but none of it matched him.
The entire case hinged on one troubled accuser: Charles Erickson.
Bit by bit, the case against Ferguson has fallen apart, and yet, his conviction has been upheld time and time again. This time, however, an unexpected development may make a difference.
For the first time, Ferguson's accuser spoke publicly ... and what a story he told.
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