A New York man told a jury Friday that he spent two nights trying to cover up the 2019 killing of a woman he beat to death with a baseball bat and sledgehammer at an upstate deli where she had been an employee.
James Duffy, who has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, said deli owner George Kakavelos paid him $800 to kill Allyzibeth Lamont because the 22-year-old had complained to the state Department of Labor about his practice of paying employees off the books.
The Daily Gazette reports Duffy testified for more than four hours Friday at Saratoga County Court about their efforts to conceal Lamont's death, including burying her in a shallow grave in the town of Malta, 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Johnstown.
Duffy is to be sentenced to 18 years to life in prison in exchange for testifying against Kakavelos, the newspaper reported.
Kakavelos' defense attorney, Kevin O’Brien, called the state's case a “disaster," adding Lamont's death was a “heinous crime that was orchestrated and done solely by James Duffy.”
“The government has bought what this drunk, self-serving crackhead has sold them to get a better deal for himself,” O'Brien told The Associated Press. “Now the prosecutors will have to watch as I destroy Duffy and the government’s case in front of the jury.”
Lamont went missing after an October 2019 shift at the Local No. 9 deli in Johnstown and was found three days later. An autopsy found she died of multiple blows to the head.
Duffy, 35, recalled cutting off the woman's clothing before placing fertilizer, concrete, cement pavers and dirt over her. He and Kakavelos then put leaves, grass and branches over the grave, he said.
“I asked him to help me — he was really hesitant," Duffy testified. "Said he didn’t want to see her face, it would haunt him.”
Duffy, who managed the deli, told a Saratoga County jury that Kakavelos, 52, had been a role model to him and “always taken care of me.” He said Kakavelos organized Lamont's killing.
Kakavelos has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. His trial resumes Monday.