Prosecutors: NY sub shop owner had employee killed over back wages he owed her

JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. — The former owner of a sub shop in upstate New York is accused of having an employee killed in 2019 because of back pay he owed her, authorities said.

Jury selection began Monday for Georgios Kakavelos, who is on trial in the bludgeoning death of Allyzibeth Ann LaMont, 22, of Gloversville. Kakavelos, 52, of Ballston Spa, is charged with multiple counts of murder, conspiracy, concealment of a human corpse and evidence tampering.

LaMont vanished the evening of Oct. 28, 2019, from the area of Local Substation No. 9, a small Johnstown sandwich shop where she worked for Kakavelos. Her body was found three days later, buried in a shallow grave 35 miles away, off Interstate 87 in Malta.

Kakavelos and the manager of his shop, James A. Duffy, were arrested that same day in LaMont’s death.

Duffy, 35, of Johnstown, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder April 30 in exchange for a sentence of 18 years to life, the Daily Gazette in Schenectady reported. He is expected to testify that Kakavelos paid him to kill LaMont and that the older man participated in the crime.

Duffy, who had worked for Kakavelos for about a year, told police the shop owner wanted LaMont dead because of her missing pay, according to a statement obtained by the newspaper.

“George told me that he owed Ally money and that she was causing problems with the labor board, so he had to take her out,” Duffy’s statement read.

It was not clear Tuesday how much money Kakavelos allegedly owed LaMont.

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Kakavelos’ attorney told People magazine that his client has been “steadfast in his position that he is innocent of this horrific crime.” Kevin K. O’Brien said Kakavelos mourns LaMont, “as she was someone Mr. Kakavelos cared about as an employee who worked closely with him.”

O’Brien alleged that Duffy “has crafted a story like a petulant child looking to escape his sole responsibility in this case.”

Duffy’s statement and an indictment obtained by the Leader Herald in Gloversville laid out what authorities believe took place.

According to the documents, Kakavelos and Duffy planned LaMont’s killing over a three-day span in late October. Kakavelos paid Duffy $1,600 for the job, which entailed beating LaMont to death with a baseball bat.

Though they initially planned the killing for Oct. 27, a Sunday, Duffy told police he couldn’t go through with it. He and Kakavelos instead went to Gloversville so Duffy could buy drugs.

On Monday, Duffy said, Kakavelos told him it was the day.

Around 5:20 p.m. Oct. 28, Kakavelos went to a Walmart in Gloversville and bought work gloves, pants, a sweatshirt and lawn fertilizer, the indictment stated.

In his statement, Duffy told detectives that by 7:15 p.m., Kakavelos had closed the sandwich shop. A neighboring business was also closed for the night.

Duffy said Kakavelos asked LaMont to go in the back and wash dishes. The co-conspirators had decided that when Kakavelos joined her, Duffy would follow with the bat. Kakavelos would wield a garbage bag.

As LaMont went about her work, Duffy attacked her with the bat and their boss joined in with the bag, the statement said. Kakavelos had Duffy retrieve a hammer, which Kakavelos used on the young woman.

He also choked her to ensure she was dead.

LaMont’s autopsy would later determine that she died of multiple blunt force blows to the head.

The indictment alleges that at 8:27 p.m., about an hour after the killing, Kakavelos was back at Walmart, where he bought duct tape, plastic sheeting, towels, bleach, soap and detergent, the Leader Herald reported.

Duffy told detectives that he and his boss placed LaMont’s body in Kakavelos’ 2008 Volkswagen Passat and drove around looking “for a place to get rid of her.” Around midnight, they ended up in Malta, in a wooded area at the Exit 13 on-ramp to I-87.

There was no traffic, but the men pulled over and propped open the hood of Kakavelos’ car to make any passersby think they were having engine trouble, the Daily Gazette reported. They dumped LaMont’s body in the woods and left.

The next night, Duffy said, they returned and buried LaMont’s body under the fertilizer Kakavelos had bought, believing it would speed up the decomposition of her remains.

Her body was also buried under concrete, paving stones and branches, authorities said.

The pair spent Oct. 29-31 covering their tracks. They used the cleaning supplies Kakavelos had bought to remove evidence of the fatal beating from the sub shop.

They also tossed out evidence in a number of places to keep police from finding it.

On Oct. 31, the day Duffy allegedly confessed, Kakavelos had his Passat relined. He also had the car cleaned and deodorized that same day, authorities said.

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After giving his statement, Duffy led investigators to the discarded evidence, including bags containing shovels and the clothing the men wore. He also led them to the alleged murder weapon in nearby Galway.

“Once on Dean Lung Road, we proceeded north approximately three-quarters of a mile to a mile before Mr. Duffy advised us that on the left was a pond, like a marshy area,” New York state police Investigator Jason Nellis testified at a hearing. “He advised us that the murder weapon, the baseball bat used to strike Ms. LaMont, was in the marshy area.”

Finally, Duffy led detectives to Malta and LaMont’s body, Nellis said.

Duffy’s sentencing is scheduled for July 15.