'One of Most Evil Individuals' Dead at 79

Sante Kimes, son killed wealthy widow, businessman
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2014 1:23 AM CDT
Updated May 23, 2014 4:00 AM CDT
Murderous Grifter Mom Dies
Sante Kimes testifies during her 2004 murder trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.    (AP Photo/Brian Vander Brug, Pool)

The woman a judge called "one of the most evil individuals" she had ever encountered has died in prison, where she was was serving a life sentence for her part in a pair of grisly murders. Sante Kimes, 79, teamed up with her son Kenneth to form what the New York Times calls "a murderous mother-and-son grifter team" whose crimes became more violent and culminated in the murders of businessman David Kazdin and elderly New York City socialite Irene Silverman. Authorities said the pair conspired to steal the $10 million townhouse of the 82-year-old widow, whose body was never found.

Kimes, who was born to a prostitute in Oklahoma and grew up in Las Vegas, had fraud, theft, and larceny convictions from an early age, and her crimes continued even after she married a multimillionaire property developer. She served several years in prison in the '80s for keeping Mexican women as slaves in her Las Vegas home. She and her son, who were the subject of the 2001 TV movie Like Mother Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes, were suspected in numerous other crimes, including arsons committed for insurance fraud and two other disappearances. Prison officials say Kimes, whose 39-year-old son is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole, was found dead in her New York cell and appears to have died of natural causes, the Los Angeles Times reports. (Read more Sante Kimes stories.)

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