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Authorities: Potential Bulger Witness Found Dead

Whitey-bulger--2
AP Photo

Rakes and his former wife were forced to sell Bulger their South Boston liquor store in 1984 to use as a headquarters for his gang and as a source of legitimate income, prosecutors say. But another prosecution witness testified that wasn't true, and it was unclear whether prosecutors would put Rakes on the stand.

Rakes regularly attended Bulger's trial and was last seen there Tuesday.

He was a vocal critic of Bulger leading up to the trial, saying in April when Bulger appeared in court for the first time in about two years that he began hyperventilating when he first saw the defendant. Rakes said Bulger wouldn't look his way.

"The day I see him in a box, not breathing, will be better," Rakes told The Associated Press that day.

Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, spent 16 years on the run, becoming one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted before authorities captured him and his girlfriend in California in 2011. He is charged with participating in 19 murders.

Bulger maintains his innocence.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.