Granada Hills businessman David Kazdin, pictured, agreed to let
Sante put his name on the title
of her Las Vegas home. But in
December 1997, desperate for cash, Sante allegedly took out
$280,000 loan on the house and forged Kazdin's name on the
application. When the bank
sent him notices for money owed, Kazdin
realized he was being scammed, and he refused to
go along with
Sante's alleged plot. On March 13, 1998, his body was found in a
near the Los Angeles airport.
According to prosecutors, Sante also conned a homeless man into
taking out a $500,000 homeowner's
insurance policy on the Vegas home
after she transferred it to his name. The house, pictured, went
in flames days after the policy went into effect. By the time
authorities began to piece the
clues together, the Kimeses had
By late spring of 1998, Kenneth and Sante were wanted for
questioning in the Kazdin murder. They
were also wanted in Utah for
writing a bad $14,900 check on a green 1997 Lincoln Town car that
was delivered to them in Beverly Hills, just weeks after Kenneth
allegedly shot Kazdin to death.
Police would eventually catch up to
the Kimeses and find incriminating evidence in the Town car
implicated them in the murder of a Manhattan woman.
According to authorities, the Kimeses are also suspects in the
disappearance of Bahamian banker
Syed Bilal Ahmed, who vanished in
1996 after meeting Sante and Kenneth for dinner.
According to news
reports, Ahmed was in charge of Sante's offshore bank accounts.
By the time Sante and Kenneth arrived in New York, they had set
their sights on their next prize:
the $7 million Upper East Side
mansion belonging to 82-year-old Irene Silverman, pictured.
14, 1998, Kenneth rented an apartment in Silverman's home for $6,000
A maid who worked for the former ballerina would later
testify that Silverman once told her
that Kenneth "smelled like
someone just out of jail" and that she had planned to evict him
night before she disappeared.
Irene Silverman had the foresight to write down details about her
strange new tenants.
This note would later become evidence that
would help to convict her killers.
Police finally nabbed Kenneth and Sante on July 5, 1998 — the
same day Silverman vanished.
In the backseat of the pair's Lincoln
Town car, authorities found loaded 9 mm and .22-caliber
along with Silverman's keys, plastic handcuffs, $30,000 in cash, an
gun box and a small jar of Flunitrazepam, a sleep-inducing
On Dec. 17, 1998, after spending five months in custody, Kenneth
and Sante were charged
with Silverman's murder. Their attorney, Mel
Sachs, who spoke to the press in front of the
Courts building, asserted that there was no proof linking the
to the murder. Silverman's body was never found.
This sketch of Kenneth Kimes, drawn by Irene Silverman days
before her disappearance,
was submitted as evidence during the trial.
On May 18, 2000, a jury convicted Sante
and Kenneth of murder. Sante
was sentenced to 120 years in prison, and Kenneth
received 125 years.
During an October 2000 jailhouse interview with Court TV, Kenneth
Kimes used a pen to hold producer
Maria Zone hostage for more than
four hours at Clinton state prison in New York. With the pen thrust
at Zone's neck, Kimes demanded that his mother be spared extradition
to California, where the
pair faced a possible death sentence if
convicted. Guards eventually wrestled Kimes to the floor.
Despite her son's desperate act, Sante was eventually transferred
to California. On June 28, 2001,
she pleaded not guilty to the 1998
murder of David Kazdin. She sat behind a glass enclosure
attorney, Deputy Alternate Public Defender Elie Miller, entered the
plea on her behalf
in Los Angeles Superior Court. Her trial began on
June 1, 2004.
Kenneth Kimes appeared in Los Angeles on March 23, 2001, with his
attorney, Deputy Public
Defender Regina Laughney. A month later he
was arraigned for the malice murder of Kazdin.
pleaded not guilty, but then later changed his plea in order to
avoid a possible
death sentence. In a surprising turn, Kenneth
agreed to testify against his mother.
Kenneth Kimes gave three days of chilling testimony in the case
against his mother, describing for
jurors how he carried out her
careful plan in the murder of David Kazdin. In an unexpected turn,
he also confessed to the murders of socialite Irene Silverman and
banker Syed Bilal Ahmed.
Convicted murderer Kenneth Kimes talks with attorney Regina
Laughney, during an appearance in
Los Angeles Superior Court, June
28, 2001. Kimes and his mother Sante Kimes are charged in the
1998 shooting death of businessman David Kazdin. The pair have
already been sentenced
to 120 years in prison for the slaying of 82-year-old
New York millionaire Irene Silverman.
Sante Kimes held her attorney's hand as she listened to the
verdict -- guilty of first-degree murder.
Jurors deliberated for
almost two weeks, finally delivering their decision on July 7, 2004.
noted that Kimes' behavior during her trial -- delivering
rambling monologues, speaking out in
court, badgering witnesses on
the stand and faking illness in order to delay proceedings - did
help her case. Her sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 17. She faces
life in prison without
the possibility of parole.