BALLSTON SPA – James Duffy, who admitted his role in the murder of Allyzibeth Lamont in Johnstown, was sentenced Wednesday to 18 years to life in prison.
Duffy’s sentencing included statements from Lamont’s parents, Sherman and Crista Lamont.
“She was a good girl with a big heart, that often stood up for the little guy,” Sherman Lamont told the court, according to prosecutors. He called his daughter’s death a terrible thing to think about and how “everything is now different.”
“We are very changed people … I cry all the time.”
Duffy, 35, pleaded guilty in April to second-degree murder in the October 2019 murder of Allyzibeth Lamont. In exchange for the agreed-upon sentence of 18 years to life, Duffy testified against former co-defendant Georgios Kakavelos, serving as the prosecution’s star witness.
Kakavelos was convicted of first-degree murder for hiring Duffy to kill Lamont. Lamont, 22, was slain at the Johnstown sandwich shop where she worked on Oct. 28, 2019. The shop was owned by Kakavelos and Duffy was another one of his employees. Her body, buried in a shallow grave, was found by police on Oct. 31 near the southbound entrance ramp to Northway Exit 13 in Malta. The case was prosecuted in Saratoga County because that’s where Lamont’s body was found.
Lamont’s body was discovered after Duffy confessed during a police interrogation. He led police to the body and the locations where other evidence had been hidden.
Duffy testified that Kakavelos paid him between $1,100 and $1,300 in cash for killing Lamont.
Lamont, who had worked at Local No. 9 sandwich shop in Johnstown for about six months, was Kakavelos’ “best worker,” according to Duffy and other employees who testified. But Kakavelos came to see her as a “ringleader” of employees against him, and apparently held her responsible for a pending state Labor Department investigation.
Lamont’s mother told the court of how her daughter’s murder had changed her.
“There is no going back,” Crista Lamont told the court, according to prosecutors. “I am closed off… [My] remaining daughters are coping in their own way… [because] they and their children have been robbed of a great sister and aunt.”
District Attorney Karen Heggen extended her sympathies to Lamont’s family and loved ones. She also commended the law enforcement agencies involved.
“Had it not been for the members of the state police, the Gloversville Police Department and the Johnstown Police Department who acted so quickly, collaboratively and efficiently from the outset, Allyzibeth Lamont’s disappearance would still remain a mystery,” Heggen said in a statement.
After closing hours on Oct. 28, the men created a ruse by cutting a soda machine line, creating a soda syrup mess that Lamont was asked to stay late to help clean up.
During that cleanup in a utility room at the deli, Duffy hit Lamont from behind with a baseball bat while Kakavelos put a plastic bag over her head and choked her, Duffy testified.
When Lamont was still moving after four bat blows, Duffy testified matter-of-factly that he got a small sledgehammer from the kitchen and struck her in the head. Once she was dead and there was more blood on the floor than expected, Duffy testified, Kakavelos went to the Gloversville Walmart and purchased bleach, rags and other cleaning supplies – a move caught on multiple surveillance videos.
Duffy testified that Kakavelos cleaned the scene while Duffy drank beer. Then the two men then drove together to Saratoga County, where Lamont was left late at night near the exit ramp, along with plastic bags containing blood rags and other evidence.
During the trial, Kakavelos testified in his own defense for parts of four days and denied any involvement in the murder. He called Duffy a “monster” and said Duffy acted alone. Kakavelos said Duffy threatened him and his family, which is why he didn’t go to police and helped in coverup efforts.
Duffy’s motive would have been either infatuation with a young woman who rejected his advances or that she owed Duffy money for drugs, according to Kakavelos’ defense.