Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Thursday, November 16, 2000

Former isle
man confesses to
N.Y. murder

The ex-Hawaii Kai resident
admits killing a wealthy
New York woman in 1998

Star-Bulletin staff and wire reports

A former Hawaii Kai resident, convicted with his mother of murdering a wealthy New York woman, has admitted killing her and dumping her body in New Jersey.

Kenneth Kimes Jr., 25, told police Tuesday that he threw Irene Silverman's body into a ditch at a construction site, according to accounts published yesterday in New York.

Kimes and his mother, Sante, were convicted May 18 of killing Irene Silverman, a wealthy 82-year-old widow.

Mug shots Sante, 65, and her husband, Kenneth Sr., made headlines in Hawaii in 1985 after they were convicted of keeping a domestic worker, an 18-year-old girl, in involuntary servitude in a Portlock home and in Las Vegas. The home also burned twice in 12 years and arson investigators said the fires were set deliberately.

Kimes Sr. died in 1994. A federal judge in Las Vegas sentenced Mrs. Kimes in July 1998 to five years in prison.

The son had been a tenant of Silverman's, a former Radio City Music Hall ballerina and widow of a real estate millionaire. Silverman disappeared in 1998, the day Mrs. Kimes and her son were arrested for writing a bad check for $14,900 for a car.

The mother and son were suspected by New York authorities of a string of disappearances, deaths, thefts, arson and fraud across the country and in the Bahamas.

The son's confession comes 28 months after he and his mother denied any wrongdoing.

"He said he dumped her in a hole and covered her up with tarp that was there," the New York Daily News quoted an unidentified source as saying. "He had trouble describing the exact location, but what he described was close to water."

Silverman vanished from her East 65th Street townhouse on July 5, 1998, and her body was never found.

Despite the lack of a body, Kimes and his mother were convicted of killing her in a scheme to steal Silverman's mansion. He was sentenced to 125 years and his mother to more than 120 years.

Among the evidence cited at the trial: a forged deed that transferred her townhouse to the Kimeses for a fraction of its nearly $10 million value, loaded pistols, plastic handcuffs, $30,000 in cash, a stun gun box, syringes and a pink liquid similar to a known "date rape" drug.

Interviewed by investigators at the upstate Clinton Correctional Facility, Kimes did not implicate his mother and maintained she was in a Manhattan hotel while he disposed of Silverman's corpse.

Kimes decided to cooperate to upgrade his life in prison from an additional eight-year sentence of solitary confinement after taking a free-lance Court TV reporter hostage with a pen to her throat during a prison interview last month, newspapers quoted sources as saying.

Kimes was protesting the pending extradition of his mother to California for separate murder trial.

The producer, Maria Zone, was freed after about four hours when a prison official managed to distract Kimes and guards jumped in and wrestled him to the floor. She was sore but otherwise unharmed.

Kimes' lead defense attorney, Mel Sachs, said he was surprised at the confession. "He's always adamantly denied his involvement in the disappearance," Sachs said.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin