Kakavelos convicted of first degree murder on nine other charges

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FULTON & SARATOGA COUNTIES – The owner of a Johnstown Deli faces life imprisonment after being convicted Thursday of 2019 on first degree murder and nine other charges related to the murder of one of its employees, Allyzibeth Lamont, 22, of Gloversville, in 2019 .

Georgios Kakavelos, 52, of Milton, was convicted of inciting a labor murder program for Lamont’s complaints to the State Labor Department against his shop, local No. 9 smokehouse and electrical substation, and practice of tax avoidance by paying employees under the table.

The Saratoga District Court jury, which has heard testimony for six weeks, condemned Kakavelos on all charges against him after deliberating for about seven hours in two days, excluding the time devoted to reviewing videos and reading key testimony Thursday morning has been. The verdict was pronounced around 3 p.m. and announced in the courtroom about 45 minutes later.

The conviction in County Court Judge James A. Murphy III is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Thursday, August 19. A first degree murder conviction could result in life imprisonment without parole. Kakavelos has been in Saratoga County Jail since his arrest the night Lamont’s body was discovered.

Albany defense attorney Kevin O’Brien said he disagreed with the verdict, but credited the jury – who heard the case in very unusual circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic – pay close attention during the lengthy process to have. He said he would appeal on behalf of Kakavelos, but a different lawyer would handle each appeal.

“I think there are some problems, but I’m not an appeals attorney,” said O’Brien.

“It’s been six weeks of work for a client I really like,” said O’Brien. “The jury did its job, although I don’t agree. I found the prosecutor and the judge very fair, and I don’t always say that. “

District Attorney Karen A. Heggen praised the work of the law enforcement agencies involved and the “dedicated work of the District Attorney, First Assistant District Attorney Alan M. Poremba, along with Assistant District Attorneys Joseph Frandino and Johnny Destino”.

Kakavelos was convicted of first degree murder for hiring another employee, James A. Duffy, 35, to kill Lamont, who was murdered in the Townsend Avenue store on October 28, 2019. Her body, buried in a shallow grave, was found by police on October 31 near the south entrance to Exit 13 of the Northway in Malta.

Lamont’s body was discovered after Duffy made a confession during police interrogation and led police to the body and the locations where other evidence had been hidden.

Duffy was also charged with first degree murder, but pleaded guilty to a single second degree murder in April. In exchange for testifying against Kakavelos, Duffy is sentenced to 18 years in prison.

In addition to first degree murder, Kakavelos was convicted of second degree conspiracy, double concealment of a human corpse, and sixfold manipulation of evidence in Fulton, Saratoga and Albany counties. There was also a second degree murder charge on the indictment, but it was not considered when the advisory jury agreed that he was guilty of first degree murder.

Within three days on the stand, Duffy testified that Kakavelos paid him between $ 1,100 and $ 1,300 in cash for Lamont’s murder. After work on October 28, the men created a ruse by severing a soda machine line, creating a soda and syrup mess that Lamont was asked to stay long to help clean up.

During this cleanup in a utility room at the deli, Duffy hit Lamont from behind with a baseball bat while Kakavelos poked a plastic bag from her head and choked her, he testified.

When Lamont was still moving after four hits with the bat, Duffy soberly testified that he had brought a small sledgehammer from the kitchen and hit her on the head. When she was dead and there was more blood on the floor than expected, Duffy testified that Kakavelos went to the Gloversville Walmart and bought bleach, rags, and other cleaning supplies – a move featured on several surveillance videos.

Duffy testified that Kakavelos cleaned the scene while Duffy was drinking beer. Then the two men drove together to Saratoga County, where Lamont was left near the exit late at night, along with plastic bags of blood rags and other evidence.

Duffy testified that they returned the next night, October 29, to bury the body and take the plastic bags to wooded locations in Milton town. On the morning of October 30, the bat and two plastic bags were dumped on Dean Lung Road in Galway after the couple learned that police were about to question them, Duffy testified.

Also on October 30, Kakavelos took his Volkswagen Passat to Albany County, where he bought plywood to replace the flooring in the trunk of the vehicle and had the interior thoroughly cleaned and deodorized in a car wash, despite knowing the police were interviewing looked for him a second time.

Both men were questioned by police on October 30, when Lamont was still just a missing person, and denied that she had been harmed. Duffy was interviewed again on October 31 and confessed. After the body was found, Kakavelos was asked to return to Gloversville Police Department. He was only told that new evidence had been found and then refused to answer any further questions about the night Lamont disappeared.

During the trial, Kakavelos testified in his own defense for four days and denied any involvement in the murder. He called Duffy a “monster” and said he acted alone. Kakavelos said Duffy threatened him and his family, which is why he did not go to the police and cooperate with cover-up attempts.

Duffy’s motive was either falling in love with a young woman who refused his advances, or that she owed Duffy money for drugs, the defense said.

During his closing speech on Monday, Poremba summed up Kakavelos’ testimony and said to the jury: “I assume that what he said is incredible, and by incredible I mean implausible.”

Kakavelos has lived in Saratoga County for 22 years and once ran the Saratoga Diner and Travers Diner in Gloversville. Duffy testified that he had only been to Saratoga County a few times. Duffy came to Johnstown from northeast Pennsylvania three years ago to “escape drugs,” he said, and Kakavelos repeatedly hired him, fired him for heavy drinking, and then hired him again.

At the time of the murder, Duffy was working at the deli, as well as doing odd jobs and construction work for Kakavelos, who was planning a new # 9 location at a Saratoga Springs mall.

Kakavelos was the only defense witness, while prosecutors produced 66 witnesses and 651 pieces of evidence over 18 days.

Lamont, who spent about six months at Local No. 9 was the “best worker” in Kakavelos, according to Duffy and other staff who testified. But Kakavelos saw her as the “leader” of staff against him and apparently blamed her for a pending investigation by the state labor ministry.

At the time of the murder, he already owed the Internal Revenue Service approximately $ 70,000 in unpaid wage and sales taxes, $ 122,000 in federal income taxes, and had filed for bankruptcy, according to witness statements.

The case is the best-known case that has been heard in the capital region since the reopening of state courts in the wake of the pandemic. The judge, attorneys, and jury were required to wear masks throughout the trial, although witnesses used clear plastic face shields so facial expressions could be seen. Plexiglass partitions were also set up in several places. The jury was socially distant throughout the courtroom instead of sitting in the jury box.

Due to capacity constraints, the news media – including the Daily Gazette – followed the trial remotely via an electronic link.

The case was heard in Saratoga because that is where the body was found and where some of the crimes took place.

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