Sante Kimes, convicted in 1998 L.A. murder, dies in N.Y. prison at 79

Sante Kimes, part of mother-and-son grifter team, dies in New York prison cell

Sante Kimes, half of a mother-son con-artist team who was convicted of murder in the 1998 death of Granada Hills businessman David Kazdin, was found dead Monday night in her New York prison cell.

Kimes, 79, was found unresponsive in her cell at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, state prisons spokeswoman Linda Foglia told the Associated Press. The cause was not immediately known.

Kimes had been serving a 120-year prison term for murder, robbery, conspiracy and forgery in the disappearance of Irene Silverman, a former Radio City Music Hall Rockette and New York socialite. Kimes and her son, Kenneth Kimes, were convicted in 2000, although Silverman’s body has never been found. Prosecutors argued that the pair intended to steal Silverman’s Manhattan apartment.

In the California case, Kenneth Kimes had admitted shooting Kazdin, a family friend, on his mother’s orders after Kazdin discovered Sante Kimes had forged his signature for a $280,000 loan. Mother and son were sentenced to life in prison in 2004.

In a 2001 TV movie, “Like Mother Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes,” Mary Tyler Moore played the character of Sante.

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