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Kimes, Son Get Life Sentence in L.A. Murder

Tuesday, March 22, 2005; Page A04

LOS ANGELES, March 21 -- Sante Kimes and her son, Kenneth, whose con-artist exploits have been the subject of several books and a TV movie, were sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday for the 1998 murder of a family friend and business associate.

Sante Kimes, 71, who also has been convicted of the 2000 murder of New York socialite Irene Silverman, was found guilty in July of ordering Kenneth Kimes to shoot Los Angeles business associate David Kazdin, who was about to expose their scheme to take a $280,000 loan in his name.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy-Powell called Sante Kimes "one of the most evil individuals" she had met during 16 years on the bench. The judge said Kimes had "brutalized and dominated" her son and "has a unique ability to recognize the weaknesses, the avarice and the flaws in other human beings and exploit them."

In a plea agreement, Kenneth Kimes, 29, pleaded guilty in June to the murder of Kazdin and testified against his mother in a bid to avoid a potential death sentence for them both.

Sante Kimes, described during the trial as a manipulative con artist, was portrayed by Mary Tyler Moore in the 2001 made-for-TV movie "Like Mother, Like Son."

Sante Kimes denied killing Kazdin and again proclaimed her innocence on Monday, telling the court from a wheelchair that jailhouse doctors said she did not need: "We are innocent. I object. I object. I object. This is one of the worst criminal obstructions in U.S. history."

The duo are already serving sentences of more than 100 years each for killing Silverman, 82, in 2000 so they could take over her mansion. The judge said it was up to the Los Angeles and New York authorities to work out where they would serve their jail time.

In the Los Angeles case, Kenneth Kimes testified that he went to Kazdin's home and shot him in the back of the head. His body was later found in a trash bin near Los Angeles International Airport. Kimes said his mother planned the murder.

Kenneth Kimes also said he and his mother were involved in the murders of Silverman and an Arab banker who went missing in the Bahamas in 1996.

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