FULTON & SARATOGA COUNTIES – A state police investigator testifying Monday in the murder trial of Georgios Kakavelos said that plastic trash bags found at locations a co-defendant led police to contained clothing, gloves and other materials stained reddish-brown in a way “consistent with blood,” as well as the victim’s cellphone.
The discoveries were made in Saratoga County.
Kakavelos, 52, of Milton, is on trial in Saratoga County Court for first-degree murder in the Oct. 28, 2019, death of Allyzibeth Lamont, 22, who was one of his employees at the Local No. 9 Smokehouse and Substation in Johnstown. His co-defendant, James A. Duffy, gave a statement to police investigators on Oct. 31, 2019, and then led them to Lamont’s body and three other evidence sites in Saratoga County.
Inv. Dennis Rounds, in his third day of trial testimony, reported on what was discovered in four large plastic bags found at a location on Rowland Street in Milton — and also on the contents of two bags found at another location on Dean Lung Road in Galway. A shovel was found wrapped in a tarp at one of the Dean Lung Road bags.
The trial was in its seventh day. It is being held at the Saratoga County Court in Ballston Spa because Lamont’s body was recovered in Saratoga County.
Rounds testified that one of the bags found on Rowland Street contained a cellphone, broken in two, that police believe was Lamont’s, a red-stained and cut t-shirt and black bra, stained plastic sheeting and stained vinyl gloves, and carpeting that may have come from an automobile trunk.
The other three bags found on Rowland Street contained more red-stained gloves and plastic sheeting, two red-stained and empty bags of lawn fertilizer, stained rags and a stained pair of leggings, Rounds said.
Duffy, 35, of Johnstown, who was manager of Kakavelos’ sub shop, was also initially charged with first-degree murder, but in April pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He is expected to be sentenced to 18 years to life in prison in exchange for his testimony against Kakavelos, who could get life without parole if convicted of first-degree murder. The first-degree charge is based on Kakavelos allegedly paying Duffy for the killing.
Kakavelos’ defense contends that Duffy was the sole killer and Kakavelos only cooperated with efforts to hide evidence afterward out of fear that Duffy would harm his family, which includes three small children.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Kevin O’Brien, two prosecution witnesses on Monday testified to unusual behavior by Duffy.
The cab driver who picked up Duffy at the Local No, 9 location shortly after 1 a.m. on Oct. 29, 2019, testified that Duffy was talkative and “hyper” on the seven-minute ride, “like he was on something, drugs or something.” He was also arguing loudly and profanely with a woman on the phone, driver Todd Bluthen said.
The driver also testified that the end of the ride, Duffy told him, “You’re going to read about me in the paper.”
Downstairs neighbor Thomas White testified that Duffy “drank a lot.”
Rounds, however, was the primary witness on Monday. The state police forensics specialist previously testified about police finding Lamont’s naked body in a shallow grave off the Northway Exit 13 southbound entrance ramp in Malta. He reported Monday on the contents of the plastic bags, which were examined at the state police Troop G forensics garage in Latham during the first week of November 2019.
Lamont’s body was found on Oct. 31, 2019, and Kakavelos and Duffy were both arrested later that night and charged with murdering Lamont with blows to the head at the sub shop after closing hours on Oct. 28, and then transporting the body to Saratoga County.
At the Dean Lung Road location, two plastic bags hidden in the woods were found, Rounds said. They were located just down the road from where police recovered an aluminum baseball bat believed to be one of the murder weapons.
The Dean Lung Road bags contained more red-stained gloves, red-stained cardboard packaging, and beer and water bottles, among other items, Rounds testified.
Items from each of the bags was sent to the state police lab for testing, including swabs from the beer and water bottles to be tested for DNA or fingerprints, Rounds said.
Under cross-examination by O’Brien, Rounds acknowledged Kakavelos’ fingerprints weren’t found on any of the evidence items. No prints from anyone could be identified on the materials, Rounds testified.
The prosecution contends that the body was buried and the plastic bags left at wooded remote locations in an effort to cover up the crime.
The trial is being held in person, but with restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorneys, jurors and court personnel are all required to wear masks, and witnesses are being required to wear clear face shields. Numerous plexiglass barriers are also in place throughout the courtroom, and the public isn’t allowed in the courtroom. The Gazette has been observing the proceeding via video link.
Based on a directive issued Monday by the state Chief Justice Janet DiFiore, County Court Judge James A. Murphy III told jurors that the masking rules will remain in place in courthouses, even though Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last week relaxed the masking rules for vaccinated people in most circumstances.
Testimony will resume at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.