On the Boardwalk: The Story of Kosta Fotopoulos and Deidre Hunt
Lisa Paspalakis was a wealthy, young professional living and working in Daytona Beach, Florida. Under the direction of her successful father, Lisa had secured her own financial future with a thriving amusement company on Daytona Beach’s famous Boardwalk, which drew millions of tourists year after year.
Lisa wanted more though. She wanted the love of a husband and a home filled with children. She had dated several men but none of them really caught her fancy until she met Konstantinos Fotopoulos - Kosta for short.
Kosta, like Lisa, was Greek. Unlike Lisa, who was born in America, Kosta had left his parents behind in Greece to study in the U.S. in hopes of someday living a life of wealth and success. Unfortunately, Kosta didn’t have the ambition it takes to succeed in life and turned to the ways of a lazy man’s secrets of success instead.
When he met Lisa, Kosta believed he'd won the lottery. After a whirlwind courtship, he proposed marriage and Lisa, in love with the handsome fellow Grecian, eagerly accepted.
Lisa believed she had fulfilled another dream. Kosta knew he had fulfilled one of his.
Soon after Lisa and Kosta were married, he began insisting he wanted to try his hand at owning and operating his own business. Kosta wanted to start a combination pool hall and deli at the other end of the boardwalk.
Lisa wasn’t keen on his business idea, believing it would draw more of the area’s local undesirables than the loose-fisted tourists merchants preferred, but she wanted to support her husband and readily provided him with the start-up funding needed.
Just as Lisa had feared, Kosta’s pool hall quickly became a place of loitering for juvenile delinquents and other petty criminals. Tourists kept a wide berth between them and the front door of Kosta's Boardwalk business.
Despite his wife’s and other Boardwalk business owners’ complaints, Kosta was enjoying the company he kept at his place. He saw the potential of their kind and began to cash in on it.
Kosta had made connections back in Greece with a group who printed counterfeit American dollars, in a variety of denominations, and would sell them to him for mere pennies on the dollar. All Kosta had to do was integrate them with real money to make an outstanding profit. And what better place to do it than in one of America’s busiest vacation destinations?
Kevin Ramsey had previously worked a few hours each week for Kosta but had been fired after Kosta caught him taking money from the register. Before, during, and after that time, Ramsey had slunk around the Boardwalk day and night, pick-pocketing and shoplifting while eking out an existence. Kosta believed he’d be the perfect guy to help infiltrate the local currency with the fake.
Kosta would provide Ramsey with a counterfeit $100 bill. Ramsey, in turn, would visit a local store and purchase a pack of cigarettes, for example, and pay with the phony currency. Ramsey would return half of the change received and keep the other half, as well as the cigarettes. For Ramsey, it was a sweet deal and when Kosta asked if he had any other friends willing to help spread around the funny money, Ramsey had no trouble recruiting his some of friends.
So many youngsters, who would rather scam than work for their money, came in drove to the pool hall, Kosta had plenty of "passers" from which to choose. One of them was a barely-of-legal-age runaway from Massachusetts. Her name was Deidre Michelle Hunt.
Kosta was about to get more than he had bargained for.
Deidre Michelle Hunt had a mother only in the sense the woman gave birth to her, but she was never mothered. Deidre's mom was usually too busy being drunk or getting high while running through a string of boyfriends. Deidre decided one day she'd had enough and headed south to a warmer climate, hoping a new place would give her a fresh start.
Of course, what Deidre meant by a fresh start was finding new victims to scam because she was not willing to work and earn success and this Kosta Fotopoulos she’d heard so much about seemed like he just might be what she needed.
Kosta was smitten at first sight. Not only was the teenage brown-eyed beauty going to be great for the counterfeiting operation, but she’d make for a fantastic mistress too.
To ward off any suspicions Lisa may have about Deidre being at the pool hall so much, Kosta hired her on as a waitress. The teen spent more time on her knees in Kosta’s office than she did on her feet taking orders, however. Nonetheless, Lisa, who visited her husband’s business quite frequently, was weary of the girl and questioned Kosta about his relationship with Deidre. Kosta, of course, denied any relationship other than that of employer and employee.
When Lisa’s father died unexpectedly, Deidre Hunt was the last person on her mind as the family dealt with their grief and went about the task of settling her father’s estate. It was a difficult time and Kosta was more absent than ever; claiming his business was tying up his time.
Lisa inherited a hefty sum from her father and Lisa and Kosta decided to build their dream home with the windfall. When the home they had been living in sold faster than anticipated, they moved in with Lisa’s mother and brother until their dream house could be completed.
Deidre was very aware of the money Lisa had from her own success as well as what she had inherited from her father. She frequently ranted at Kosta that she wanted to live like Lisa, in a large home, fancy clothing, expensive foreign cars, jewels, and money to spend frivolously. Yes, she said, Kosta gave her more than she’d ever had in her life but it wasn’t enough. She wanted it all.
Kosta was in financial trouble. The money laundering scheme had fizzled out when United States Treasury officials began asking questions and now he was, again, reliant on Lisa for spending money.
So Kosta came up with the only plan he believe allowed him to walk away with legitimate wealth: murder. Deidre thought it was a brilliant idea.
Blackmail and Murder
As Deidre and Kosta were planning how best to eliminate Lisa, an immediate problem came to their attention. Ramsey began demanding money from Kosta to keep him quiet about his counterfeiting and adulterous activities. If Kosta didn’t do as Ramsey asked, he planned to have a chat with police and Lisa.
Such things seldom end well, and this time was no exception.
On October 20, 1989, Deidre and Kosta convinced Ramsey to go for a ride with them. They took him to a isolated shooting range and told him it was a surprise initiation into their “club.” Under this guise, Ramsey willingly allowed himself to be tied to a tree. With Kosta videotaping the event, Deidre told Ramsey he was only going to be shot at. but not actually hit. In actuality, Deidre shot him three times in the chest and once in the head. Switching places with Kosta, Deidre captured Kosta on tape as he shot Ramsey in the head with an assault rifle.
The tape being the “trust” needed sealed their relationship, the couple had sex soon after the murder. Then promptly carried on with their plans for murdering Lisa.
The odd couple didn't think it would be too difficult to execute their plan; after all, they were experienced killers now.
Robbery Gone Wrong
Kosta and Deidre come to the realization there might be plenty of people who would talk after Lisa’s murder, telling police about their affair and the two of them would become prime suspects. So they decided it best to hire someone to do the job for them.
Deidre went to her friend Lori Henderson and asked if she knew anyone who would be interested in the job. Lori responded her friend, Teja James, would probably be willing to do it.
James was indeed interested and plans were made for him to carry out the murder at an upcoming Halloween social Lisa and Kosta were scheduled to attend. However, James backed out after arriving because he said too many people were around. James was given another time and place, but failed it carry through that time too.
Deidre then approached a young man from Ohio, who was new to the Daytona Beach scene. Bryan Chase was very taken with Deidre and would stumble over himself in an effort to impress her. When Deidre asked Chase if he would be willing to kill someone for $5,000, he agreed he would.
Truth of the matter: Chase was terrified and didn’t really want to do it. Several times he thought of ways to get out of committing the murder, but he so desperately wanted Deidre to like him, he went through with things as planned.
On November 4, 1989, Chase slipped through a window left unlocked by Kosta and unguarded by the security system of the Paspalakis home. He silently made his way to the bedroom where the Fotopouloses lay sleeping. Creeping to Lisa’s side of the bed, Chase fired a single shot into her head.
Chase had no idea he was a just another disposable tool in Kosta and Deidre’s fatal fantasy. At the sound of Chase firing a shot at Lisa, Kosta - who had only been feigning sleep in anticipation of Chase’s arrival, jumped from the bed and fired repeatedly at Chase with an AK-47. Chase died there on the Fotopoulos' bedroom floor.
The shot to Lisa’s head had rendered her unconscious but had not proved fatal and she was rushed to the nearest hospital. Kosta stayed behind to tell his story to investigators of killing the man who had shot his wife in an obvious burglary gone wrong.
Kosta was certain he would soon be declared a hero. He couldn’t have been more wrong.
Life and Death
One of the first things which tipped detectives off the scene wasn’t what it appeared to be, was the fact the “intruder” had bypassed Kosta, went around the couples’ bed, and straight to Lisa.
When a search of the crime scene uncovered a videotape of the Ramsey murder, Kosta and Deidre may as well have signed their own indictments. This was quickly followed by news Lisa had survived the attempted murder. She would later testify against Kosta at his trial.
Not surprisingly, a jury unamiously agreed 20 year-old Deidre was guilty. She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Deidre, now in her late 40s, is incarcerated at the Homestead Correctional Institution in Florida City.
Kosta to was convicted of attempted murder and conspiracy and was sentenced to death. He currently sits on death row at Florida State Prison in Raiford. He was scheduled to be executed in 2008, but it was stayed pending one of his numerous appeals. Said appeal was denied in October 2008 but, as of this writing, a new date of execution has not been scheduled.
The Last Laugh
Lisa Paspalakis Fotopoulos gets the last laugh. The man who married her for money and tried to murder her for the same sits locked behind the bars of a filthy prison having his every move dictated; from the time he wakes to his weekly shower, to the meals he must eat, to the clothing he must wear. And his envious little mistress who wanted to steal Lisa’s life, has already lived longer behind bars than she did as a free woman. Lisa, alternatively, is alive and well and continues her success as proprietor of the Joyland Amusement Center and Lisa’s Gift Shop on the Daytona Beach Boardwalk.
Most importantly, however, is Lisa did not give up on love. Following her former husband’s trial, Lisa found love and remarried. Today she is known as Mrs. Lisa Psaros.
© 2016 Kim Bryan