04/03/2024 3:28 PM


The Queen Of Beauty

Prosecutor says deli owner’s financial woes led him to murder

BALLSTON SPA – A Saratoga County prosecutor on Monday cast deli owner Georgios Kakavelos as a cold and calculated killer who savagely murdered Allyzibeth Lamont to forever silence a 22-year-old employee he blamed for his deepening financial ruin. 

“The defendant perceived Ally as a whistleblower,” First Assistant District Attorney Alan Poremba told the jury in a more than two-hour closing argument at Kakavelos’ first-degree murder trial.

Kakavelos, 52, of Ballston Spa, a Greek immigrant who owned the Local No. 9 sandwich shop in Johnstown, faces the possibility of life in prison without parole if convicted. Kakavelos’ trial entered its sixth week Monday with attorneys delivering their final arguments to the jury before County Judge James A. Murphy III.

Poremba told jurors that by the fall of 2019, Kakavelos was broke, his credit was shot and he faced a bankruptcy petition. And he said Kakavelos was continuing to pay employees under the table, even as he owed the state more than $70,000 and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service more than $120,000.

Lamont, who worked for Kakavelos at the shop, was filing a complaint with the state Department of Labor about the businessman’s practice of paying employees under the table. The prosecutor said Kakavelos faced a investigation over tax fraud.

 “At the the age of 51 he was failing as a businessman,” the prosecutor told jurors, “but in the defendant’s egotistical mind it wasn’t his fault. It was Allyzibeth Lamont’s fault for complaining about his business practices.”

The prosecutor said Kakavelos believed Lamont was a “ring leader” of young women at the shop revolting against him. Lamont was threatening to blast Kakavelos as a terrible boss on social media.  In addition, she had learned that the official owner of the business was Kakavelos’ wife and planned to raise her concerns to her — all at a time when Kakavelos was planning to move the deli to a new location in Saratoga Springs.

That’s why, according to Poremba, Kakavelos enlisted Jimmy Duffy, a career criminal who admittedly raped a 14-year-old girl as a teenager, to help him kill Lamont. 

“The defendant could not afford any more investigations, any more tax debt or any more bad publicity for his business,” Poremba told jurors.  He said Kakavelos was upset about an article in the Times Union in 2012 after his Saratoga Diner closed.

Prosecutors contend Kakavelos and Duffy, who worked at the deli, ambushed and bludgeoned Lamont  on Oct. 28, 2019 about 7:30 p.m., then dumped her body in a wooded area off Exit 13 of the Northway in Malta. Duffy testified that he struck Lamont in the head and that Kakavelos, in turn, put a bag over Lamont’s head, choked the woman and finished her off by striking her with a small sledgehammer. He testified that he and Kakavelos returned to Exit 13 the next night to bury the victim’s remains.

Duffy, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a sentence of 18 years to life in the prison, was the prosecution’s key witness and according to Kakavelos’ attorney, acted alone to kill Lamont.

In a nearly two-hour closing argument  earlier Monday, Kakavelos defense attorney Kevin O’Brien scoffed at the prosecution’s argument that a labor complaint led his client to murder. The lawyer noted Kakavelos previously owned the Saratoga Diner in Saratoga Springs and Travers Diner in  Gloversville, had faced labor complaints in the past — and never resorted to violence.

“Probably the weakest part of the government’s case is what they consider to be motive,” O’Brien told the jury. “It doesn’t make sense to risk his entire life and everything he’d built since he came to this country to kill this 22-year-old girl. Because it didn’t happen.”

O’Brien acknowledged the prosecution is not required to prove a motive to convict his client, but added: “Most of the time, you’re going to want an explanation for why somebody who had never been convicted of or arrested for a crime all of a sudden — in his 50s– decides that a complaint to the Department of Labor is a reason to murder a 22-year-old young woman.”

Earlier Monday, Kakavelos concluded his fourth and final day of testimony, continuing to say that he took no part in the crime.

“I do know that I had nothing to do with it,” Kakavelos testified. ” I do know a life was lost that night. A life was lost of a young girl.”

After an off day Tuesday, the jury will return Wednesday at 11 a.m. to receive instructions from the judge. The jury will then begin deliberations.