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Larry King Live

Convicted Murderers Sante and Kenneth Kimes Profess Their Innocence

Aired July 19, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a notorious mother and son convicted of the cold-blooded killing of a wealthy New York widow, sentenced to more than a century each behind bars. She's got a rap sheet that stretches back four decades, including a stint in prison for slavery. He could face death penalty if California convicts them in another murder case. Some say they're pure evil. They claim it's all a frame. From Rikers Island in New York, exclusive one-on-one interviews with Sante Kimes and her son, Kenneth, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Thanks for joining us. Eighty-year-old Irene Silverman, a New York socialite, vanished from her swanky townhouse on July 5, 1998. On that same day, Sante Kimes and her son, Kenneth, were arrested on a warrant for using a bad check to buy a car. Items found during a search of that car made New York police suspect the Kimes in Mrs. Silverman's disappearance. Though there was no body, and no direct forensic evidence and nobody confessed to anything, the Kimes eventually were convicted of Silverman's murder and slew of other charges. Last month, Kenneth and his mother were each sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

When I interviewed Sante earlier this month at Rikers, I asked her what it was like to face spending the rest of her life behind bars.


SANTE KIMES, CONVICTED MURDERER: I don't think there are words where I could really tell you, but I know justice is coming, and I know that the world is going to help us bring out justice and this will not happen.

KING (on camera): Which means?

S. KIMES: So I tried to feel that even though it wasn't so unjust, that there is a light, and the truth is coming.

KING: So you feel your appeals are going to work?

S. KIMES: They have to, or there is not any justice left in the country, Larry.

KING: What's the biggest injustice to you? S. KIMES: Well, the...

KING: What didn't -- you knew the woman.

S. KIMES: Yes.

KING: Information was found on you that was connected to the woman, right?

S. KIMES: Wrong.

KING: Wrong.

S. KIMES: Wrong.

KING: The biggest injustice is obviously you say didn't you do it.

S. KIMES: The biggest injustice is that there is no crime. They don't know where the woman is. They manufactured a crime.

What happened is I'm sure that the world knows that New York is one of the most corrupt law systems in the world. Last week in the papers, they have federal monitoring now. You have, like the Diallo case, there's Dorismond, where they shot people down. This is the premeditated murder of my own son who has done nothing. They had no crime, Larry. They may...

KING: Well, they have a missing person.

S. KIMES: Yes, they have a missing person.

KING: And so in a missing person, you suspect a crime, don't you? And I mean if you were police officer and someone is missing and you don't find them, you suspect someone did something to them. If something happened to them themselves, you'd find them.

S. KIMES: You'd suspect, and I'm glad you asked that, because then you'd find evidence, and there is no evidence. They have no evidence. They have no body, no reliable evidence, no witnesses.

KING: Weren't cards found on you and your son that belonged to her, things that belonged to her?


KING: Then how did they connect the two?

S. KIMES: All of those thins, and what I was going to ask you, please, and ask the world, people who believe in justice, before we couldn't get our teeth into anything and prove what was being done, but after we lost in the lower trial, now things are of record, and if agencies or people who believe in justice will just read the transcripts, they'll see exactly what happened. They don't have to -- you don't have to believe us.

KING: All right. The connection between you and this woman, and your son and this woman was what?

S. KIMES: I met this -- I met Irene in 1994. I had been -- an equitable life insurance man had invited me to New York, and I met her, very friendly, because my husband had died, and I was interested in longevity.

KING: And she's a prominent, fairly wealthy woman, right?

S. KIMES: She was a very nice lady with an apartment and...

KING: You rented the apartment?

S. KIMES: No, but I talked about it. We became kind of social friends. I didn't see her again until she called me in 1996, and told me that she was worried, and that she wanted to sell her apartment, that she had been -- a lot of people around her talked her into willing it to them, that she didn't -- had changed her mind. She wanted to sell it. And she knew that you, know, I had a lot of connections and I could help her, and I said I'd be happy to. That's how it all started.

KING: Did you eventually rent it or buy it?

S. KIMES: No. No.

KING: Your son live there?

S. KIMES: Not at all.

KING: You had no connection with that apartment at all, other than trying to help her?

S. KIMES: Listen, all we did -- that apartment, police have totally --- they haven't even told the public than we didn't even rent the apartment. We did not even rent the apartment.

KING: At the time of your arrest -- and I'm reading this from notes given to us by the information from trial -- you had numerous items of her on you, her keys, her Social Security card, her passports, a deed to her house with forged signatures, reporting later, transfer ownership of the building to a corporation you set up. Also found in bag, a .22 caliber handgun, second gun in the car, parked by your son before his arrest. On the day of arrest, you possessed handcuffs, pepper spray and hypodermic syringes. What were two normal people doing with all this, some which of belonged to someone else?

S. KIMES: OK, I'm so glad you asked me this question. If you read the transcripts, if everybody, anyone who believes in justice will -- now we have the transcripts of this trial, -- you will see that this was all planted. The police on the stand -- my wonderful attorney Mel Sachs -- on the stand admitted that there was no trail of evidence. They had not -- all of that was planted on us.

KING: They came to plant this evidence on you?

S. KIMES: We didn't have any -- Larry, we didn't have any keys, or...

KING: Or guns, or syringes or anything.


KING: Why you?

S. KIMES: Because we were there, and because the people did not want her to sell that apartment, I guess, because there was an arrest over a little car thing. A bookkeeper had written a check, and it bounced on a car deal, and they held us, and then we went into this.

So let me just to be sure you understand, so the public out there...

KING: The police set you up, or they...

S. KIMES: Like, and -- they admitted it on -- if you will read the transcripts, you will see that there is no trail of evidence. The police admit it, that they didn't voucher anything. Kenny didn't have any keys on him. I didn't have any passports. None of her things were on. They went into that apartment the day of the disappearance, and they got all that stuff, and it was planted, and if you don't believe me, read the transcripts.

KING: All right. We'll take a break and come right back with Sante Kimes, and later we'll be meeting her son.

This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.



HOWARD SAFIR, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: Their the essence of evil. If you look at every negative that you could put together relative to human beings -- people who don't care about others, people who engage in violence, people who steal other people's life savings -- you know, if I had to rate the Kimes scale of one to 10, 10 being the worst and one being the best, they would be a 10.




SAFIR: There's no doubt in my mind that they committed this crime, and there's no doubt in my mind that they will be convicted of other homicides in other jurisdictions. These are two of the most vicious individuals that I have ever come upon in over 30 years of law enforcement.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KING (on camera): We're at Rikers Island with Sante Kimes.

All right, prosecutors have claimed the following: that in the plot to kill Mrs. Silverman, started when you used the name "Eva Guerrero," placed calls inquiring about renting a one-bedroom apartment for her boss, named "Manny Guerin," claimed that your son using that name paid Silverman $6,000 cash, moved in June 14, 1998, that you also moved into the apartment using the alias, made very calls to learn about the property. According to the indictment, you bought a copy of the mansion's deed, called Irene Silverman, posed as a Vegas casino representative, tried to get Social Security number. After failing that, created her own Social Security card with her name. All of that is false?

S. KIMES: Every bit of that is a lie.

KING: Why?

S. KIMES: Because they have made the worst mistake in U.S. justice history.

KING: Are you paying for your past, do you think? You've had a record, you've had problems, you've been in jail -- do you think you're paying for your past?

S. KIMES: Larry, if I can say this, I think I already paid for my past, because there were a few minor things, and then I was married to a very wealthy man, and you know, I paid for that. We were innocent of that, but...

KING: You plead guilty, though, didn't you?

S. KIMES: Yes, my husband was very ill. It was over some immigrants being in hotels, and they filed civil lawsuits.

KING: Slavery was the...

S. KIMES: Yes they changed it to that, but they -- it was all over money, and if one would read what it was really all about.

KING: Before we get back to the case, what have you done? Your life, obviously, has been, to say the least, interesting.

S. KIMES: Yes.

KING: What's the biggest mistake you made?

S. KIMES: I believe the biggest mistake I have made throughout my life is trusting the wrong people, believing in the wrong people.

KING: You personally never did anything to your knowledge that was wrong?

S. KIMES: Oh, no. I would never say that. I was homeless when I was little girl. I was running around the streets of Los Angeles trying to feed myself, so I stole things, like cheese or something like that. I then was rescued and adopted. I married a fantastically wealthy man. His first relatives hated me and are right now trying to destroy me, all over money. But, I have made -- yes, I have made mistakes, but nothing that is really...

KING: So the obvious question is, why you? Why are they going to pick -- why you and your son? I mean, they have a missing lady who is quite aged, right?

S. KIMES: Yes.

KING: Why you?

S. KIMES: Because we just happened to be there at the apartment, and they made the worst mistake in history. That's what in England, they're labeling it worst, unjust mistake in the history of the United States.

KING: Who's labeling it?

S. KIMES: Well, when they did the documentary. They did one before. I mean, there is no crime. There is no body. There is no evidence.

KING: Well, because there's no body doesn't mean there wasn't a crime.

S. KIMES: No, but what I'm saying to you is, like our investigators will tell you, they tried, they -- everyone looked. That does not mean that they don't know the truth. For instance, I would just like to show you something. That apartment purchase was legitimate, and it can be proven legitimate.

KING: You purchased it.


KING: What did prosecutors say was your motive?

S. KIMES: They -- I think they believe it was money, which...

KING: How will you benefit by her death?

S. KIMES: That's what I would love for people to think about. I don't benefit from her death. I mean, if you were buying an apartment, you don't want -- you needed her there.

KING: We'll be right back. Don't go away.



SAFIR: When you have people who have no remorse and no conscience, I believe they have to be jailed for the rest of their lives, because if they were not, Sante and Kenneth Kimes would go out and commit exactly the same kind of crimes tomorrow that they committed before.




ALICE MCQUILLAN, AUTHOR, "THEY CALL THEM GRIFTERS": I think her behavior, Miss Sante Kimes behavior and reaction and how she conducted herself in the trial, really shows it's like almost the ultimate con. I think that she really believes her version of the truth, that she really believes she's innocent. Her reality doesn't necessarily match with what really is going on.



KING (on camera): We're back at Rikers Island with Sante Kimes. In a little while, we'll be meeting her son, also sentenced and convicted. Not sentenced, but they're on appeal, right, you're on appeal?

S. KIMES: Yes. Yes.

KING: Bail denied, of course. You tried to get bail, denied. The judge, Rena Uviller, at your sentencing said, "Sante Kimes is surely the most degenerate defendant who has ever appeared in this courtroom." Why do you think she would say that? Do you think she was fooled?

S. KIMES: May I answer honestly? I think that New York is one of the most corrupt political systems in the world, and the public doesn't have to believe me. They're being federally monitored now, and...

KING: But she didn't have to say that, the judge.

S. KIMES: She's an appointed judge. This is the huge political case. From day one...

KING: Why?

S. KIMES: Because it just seemed to grab the media. I don't know why. I have no idea why. I would suspect because the police made a mistake, and that, you know, it had a lot of the flavor...

KING: So the judge could say, OK, this a terrible woman, why say the most degenerate defendant ever to appear in this courtroom? I mean, that would blow me -- my mind apart if somebody said that.

S. KIMES: Well, you know, it not only blew me way, but I think it proves what I'm saying that she is totally biased unfair. A fair judge would not say that. I mean, a judge is not supposed to talk like that. They're supposed to be unbiased. Do you know that that judge, Uviller, that judge told the jury when it first started, if you think that you have to have a body here, you know, then you don't belong on this jury. That judge stopped me from taking the stand. That judge -- what do you mean?

S. KIMES: She wouldn't let me take the stand.

KING: Why?

S. KIMES: She gagged me from May 5 until May 18, me and the press, would not let me talk to my -- it's not on the record. You promised me, Larry, you're going to read the transcript.

KING: I promised you.

S. KIMES: If you read the transcripts, and the world does, and I pray they do, you're going to see the worst...

KING: How could judge gag a defendant from taking the stand in her own defense?

S. KIMES: Well she did. Read it.

KING: How?

S. KIMES: First she, on May 5, she would not let me use the phone, she would not let me write a note to my attorney.

KING: You can always take the stand in your own defense.

S. KIMES: No. She stopped me. I could not.

KING: On what ground.

S. KIMES: She said because she didn't want any media communication. There is records...

KING: I'm talking about in the trial, why didn't you take the stand?

S. KIMES: I begged. She stopped me from even talking to Mel, my attorney, the other attorneys. She stopped me, and I wanted to take the stand. I begged to be able to even talk to my attorneys from May 5 -- it's all on the record, Larry -- until May 18.

KING: What about your on?

S. KIMES: Same thing.

KING: They wouldn't let him take the stand?


KING: I don't understand this.

S. KIMES: Well, he wasn't going to take the stand, but I wanted to, but everything she ruled -- and it's all in the trial records. I begged and I wrote letters. She wouldn't even let me hand a letter to Mel. So we didn't really have any strategy or defense from May 5 until May 18, the trial's end, and we had a defense. We were ready to tell a brainwashed jury what happened, like where we think the woman is, that there was a legitimate sale.

The judge, to me, is really the worst the worst guilty person in all of this.

KING: If that's true, you have an obviously successful appeal.

S. KIMES: It's all on the record. I beg you -- I beg the world to read the record.

KING: Where do you think the woman is? Do you think she was murdered?

S. KIMES: I think this. I think that once that they pinned it on us, that I don't know what they've done with her. We've proven that there was ambulance at that apartment for three hours that the police tried to cover up.

KING: Do you like her?

S. KIMES: I thought she was fun. She was funny. She was a character. I mean, I did not know her well. She had -- oh by the way, she had fired her help. She had fired the housekeepers. She didn't want to face them. She did not -- you know...

KING: What do you make of this stories that have appeared about you and your son? Because that has added to this spice of this case, that you had some sort of incestuous relationship.

S. KIMES: OK, I'm so glad you asked me.

KING: Where did that begin?

S. KIMES: OK, it would be like I know you have new sons and you know, babies...

KING: Two of them.

S. KIMES: I tried to answer on ABC or one of the stations this. When I first heard this, I thought, you know, I thought I thought of all the slime that they could go into, but I guess I didn't realize, you know, how far they can sink. They -- my son, I held on my heart when he was born. He slept with my husband and I. That is ridiculous. It is so slimy and so ridiculous that I don't even have to answer it.

KING: You've never had relationship with him.

S. KIMES: My relationship...

KING: About -- "did you beat your wife" kind of question. You never had a relationship?

S. KIMES: No. My relationship with my son is he is a handsome wonderful kid that loves girls. He is a wonderful son. I'm very proud of him. And he is going through hell on earth, hell on earth.

KING: We'll be back with more. Don't go away.



MEL SACHS, KIMESES ATTORNEY: Anyone can testify. They certainly can. However, a judge makes rulings before they testify as to what can be used in cross-examination. And the judge made a ruling that there was going to be a mountain of information used against her, not only this past conviction, but also other incidents where they're alleging that she was involved in wrongful activity, criminal activity, uncharged crimes.




MCQUILLAN: What she did from 1978 to 1985 was she lured about a half a dozen Latino women, who were from Mexico and El Salvador, to come and work as maids in her luxury homes out West. The trick was she promised to pay them, and that she would let them write letter back home and stay in touch with their families. She didn't pay them, and she kept them as virtual prisoners in her homes. She would enforce her rules with intimidation, violence. One young woman she burned with iron. Another she slapped around.



KING (on camera): Back to one thing we just touched briefly which certainly didn't help you in the stories, was the arrest on the slavery. You and your husband alleged that over several years that you imprisoned teenaged Mexican girls in your homes, accused of making maids seven days a week without pay, held one under lock and key, stealing a mink coat from a woman at the Mayflower Hotel, skipped town while a jury was deliberating a trial. None of this is true?

S. KIMES: The charges about the maids, we appealed. And what it really was, is I told you, my husband owned a lot of hotels, and my husband's first family puts the maids -- Linda Kimes is now trying to get money again. They hate me because of money.

KING: You didn't do this.

S. KIMES: Of course not.

KING: What about the mink coat?

S. KIMES: The mink coat -- if you would read that file, and I pray someone will, they stole my mink coat, and...

KING: And you didn't steal any mink coat?

S. KIMES: I didn't steal any -- and if you read that file, I think, you know, justice has not been good to me. No, I did not do that. I have done some things. I've stolen some lipsticks. I've done, you know, minor things.

KING: But the problem would have been, had you taking the stand, they could have brought all this up, right?

S. KIMES: That was another thing, the judge who was so biased and political, was going to allow allegations and gossip. There is a Sandoval -- they call it a Sandoval ruling, which means that you can't bring up gossip, or allegations or anything older...

KING: But you can bring up -- if someone testifies in her defense, you can bring up a prior criminal record.

S. KIMES: I guess not aged, not if it's over 10 years old. But she was going to allow, like, just gossip.

This whole case, this is a case of a witch hunt, a persecution.

KING: All right, certainly, the police chief of New York, who really railed against you, he has no personal interest in seeing you convicted. Why would the authorities -- all the authorities want to do is find out -- they believe this woman was killed, and find the person who did it and prosecute them. What's the plot? In other words, why you?

S. KIMES: OK. First we are at the wrong place at the right time. Second, how would you like on the second day of your arrest to have the mayor come out and say you were guilty, on international television?

KING: He said you were guilty.

S. KIMES: Oh yes. Not only that, they put up posters of us on the third day saying we are guilty.

KING: Where?

S. KIMES: All over, on every street corner.

KING: What do you mean?

S. KIMES: You know, pictures of us, like we were guilty in this disappearance.

KING: Who?

S. KIMES: Then they even had vans driving around, broadcasting our names. This is three and four days.

KING: Who's "they"?

S. KIMES: The police, I guess the city offices. They had arrested us on a little check charge. You don't know what these police are like in New York. Think of Diallo, think of...

KING: Yes, but Diallo -- OK, Diallo was a terrible thing, an obvious mistake.

S. KIMES: But see, you aren't hearing what's happening. I have people coming to me for books. You hear about, you know, the big things. You don't realize that these police are running wild in this city, and that they are get away with murdering the Constitution, and that this case is a precedent case, because if they get away with this, every American in this world is in trouble. The police admitted to Mel Sachs, one of the greatest attorneys in the whole world, that there was no trail of evidence. All that was. It was -- they didn't...

KING: Well, they didn't say they planted it.

S. KIMES: They said there was move no trail of evidence. They...

KING: What about the credit cards and all that?

S. KIMES: They didn't have where they had taken them and put them down, or whether they had registered who they had given them to.

KING: You had nothing of hers on your property.

S. KIMES: Not one thing. In my purse, I had maybe a little wallet and then I had money. That was all planted when they found out that we were guests over there. And I am the one that told them that we were guests over there. I said we were staying over at this apartment, and then next day, all of this started.

KING: The Dave Kazdin murder in Los Angeles. you are charged with that murder. They may actually, they may not, depending on your appeal. What was that all about?

S. KIMES: I just..

KING: You were friends with him, right?

S. KIMES: My good friend, but my...

KING: And his body was found.

S. KIMES: But my people told me that I can't talk about that, that we are innocent of that. We look forward to proving that New York Police trumped all this up.

KING: Why you? Everybody is against you? I mean, it seems so -- L.A. police, New York police -- why you? What did you do.

S. KIMES: Because L.A. is being -- they have huge scandals, too.

KING: I know they've got bad police problems but...

S. KIMES: Because we just happen to be the local victims, and this case is blown up, and it's a witch hunt.

KING: There's a cloud over you...

S. KIMES: Yes.

KING: That's following you around like Eagle Feagle.

S. KIMES: There justice is coming. You cannot convict someone for- 125 years when there is no crime. The truth is in the records. Read the records.

KING: I will. Do you think you know who murdered that gentleman in Los Angeles, Mr. Kazdin?

S. KIMES: The reason -- I would love to talk about this, but I have been told that it will -- you know, everything has been so unfair that it will -- until we go to trial, it will hurt my case.

KING: So even if this appeal wins, and you are exonerated, cleared, you've got to go to L.A. and face another trial.

S. KIMES: Yes. And I look forward to that, because that trial will also prove this trial in a big way.

KING: OK, we'll be back with some more moments with our guest, and then we'll meet her son.

Don't go away.



SAFIR: I think the motive is more power than money. I think Mrs. Kimes likes to exercise power over other people, likes to be in control, and the fact is I think that's what this is about. Again, I'm not psychiatrist or a psychologist, but having been in law enforcement over 30 years, I've seen people like this. Mrs. Kimes is probably the premier example of a sociopath who wants to control others peoples' lives.




MCQUILLAN: She feels the need, say psychiatrists, psychologists, who have studied her, to create chaos, to get over on people, to have, you know, one up, to con, scheme, and she's been doing this, you know, since -- off and on since 1961.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KING (on camera): Sante, this cloud that follows you around, your home goes on fire 10 years ago in Hawaii. An associate of yours, Alma Holmgren (ph), reportedly told agents that you asked him to set that fire. He disappeared, never heard from. A man you have dinner with in the Bahamas. Syed Bilal Ahmed, a banker, disappears after having dinner with you and your son. It seems like if it looks like a duck, and it acts like duck and it quacks like a duck, it's a duck. That's the way it seems.

S. KIMES: In your profession, you manufacture television and movies, correct?

KING: I don't manufacture television.


KING: Yes, movies are manufactured.

S. KIMES: All that you're hearing, the D.A. and the prosecutors.

KING: All that is false?

S. KIMES: They had for two years. They did a witch hunt. They lied to the whole world.

KING: Because they wanted to get you?

S. KIMES: they had to get us.

KING: Because?

S. KIMES: That's right. Everything -- the books that have been written, the gossip and their allegations. I have never in my life seen -- and America needs to know and read these transcripts. Don't believe me. I mean, I'm just someone who has been -- my son has been -- it's like a witch hunt, but the one good thing about that unfair trial, that unfair judge, and two years of nothing but unparalleled media lie, like a big Hitler lie, they won, they lied so much people believed it.

KING: The jury out three days, though, right?

S. KIMES: The jury, I feel sorry for the jury. If I'd been on the jury I'd have convicted me. There was no defense. All the jury had heard were lies, just lies. They didn't hear us on the stand. The judge stopped that. They didn't hear our defense. We had a tremendous truth to tell.

KING: Let's get your side. We're going to meet him in a couple minutes.

S. KIMES: Kenny.

KING: Do you feel bad about your son?

S. KIMES: Let me tell you about Kenny. The only reason I think I'm alive is that I must prove his innocence. Being a parent is the most important thing in the world, and that boy is as innocent and as wonderful a son as you could ever pray for. He is in Hell. He has done nothing wrong. And I will I will spend my last breath praying for the public to free my innocent son -- he's done nothing -- to fight this corrupt system and to bring out the truth. And, Larry, you gave me your word -- and I've always been one of your fans -- that you will read those transcripts.

KING: I'm going to read every information you give me.

S. KIMES: And you're going to see that not only did...

KING: But if I'm reading the same thing the jury had, and you said if you were on the jury, you would have convicted, what am I going to learn?

S. KIMES: But you see, when you read it, you're going to see that jury never got the chance for me to take the stand, never heard the truth, never heard...

KING: I'm going to read things they didn't hear.

S. KIMES: The things I'm trying to tell you now, what I would have told.

KING: Right, that the jury never heard.

S. KIMES: I wanted to get up and bring out the truth.

KING: The judge said conditions made it impossible for you to testify, right, because they can't ban you from testifying?

S. KIMES: I was gagged -- read it -- from May 5 until May 18. If the jury had heard from us, they would have -- that we would have been found innocent, and if a fair jury does hear from us, we will be found innocent, because we are innocent.

KING: Since nothing good has happened to you, are you optimistic about an appeal? I mean, one would think if you have had as pessimistic existence as this, you should be pessimistic.

S. KIMES: As a mother, I will fight for my son. I believe that if the American people read those transcripts and see the truth, that they will be outraged.

KING: Thank you, Sante. I've got to run.

S. KIMES: God bless you, and thank you, and please help us.

KING: Thank you.

S. KIMES: Please.

KING: Sante Kimes. We'll meet her son. They're not allowed to see each other, so she has to leave, and then he'll be brought in right after this. (END VIDEOTAPE)



MCQUILLAN: Went she away for four years in prison following her 1986 conviction for slavery, that was the one time, say his friends, that young Kenny Kimes had a shot at playing with other kids, and being exposed to the world at large, and he had the potential for being an upstanding citizen. People said he was sharp, and kind and sweet, people that I've spoken to. You know, doing research in school and college. But then when she came back, she imposed the controls on him, and he dropped out of the University of California at Santa Barbara, and allegedly followed his mother on this path that she had chosen.



KING (on camera): We've heard from his mother. We're at Rikers Island now with her son, Kenneth Kimes, who's only 25 years old. He was convicted, sentenced to over 100 years in -- what does that feel like?


KING: You are 25 years old.

K. KIMES: Yes.

KING: What went wrong, Ken? I mean, in this whole story, what went wrong.

K. KIMES: You want my honest opinion about that.

KING: Yes.

K. KIMES: What went wrong in this whole story is the judge and the D.A., and them allowing a fair trial. There are enormous issues that the court, and the D.A. and the police did not allow. A good point, a good interesting aspect is that for two years, in a top national homicide case, the law enforcement alleged they took no notes. The D.A. had the audacity to allege they took no notes. When questioned on the court minutes, they said, we took no notes.

KING: Why?

K. KIMES: I think they're hiding some things that could have easily proven our innocence.

KING: Now, your mother said, in essence, this, too, but why can't you and your mother -- in other words, in this whole unraveling world, why you two?

K. KIMES: Why us two?

KING: Yes, why? There had to be circumstances...

K. KIMES: Could you explain that because...

KING: What led them to you?

K. KIMES: What led them to us is because we were arrested that day for an out-of-state Utah warrant for an alleged civil car case.

KING: So they had something against you?

K. KIMES: At that point, yes.

KING: And then they tie you into this woman who's missing.

K. KIMES: Yes.

KING: And they find all this evidence your mother says she believes was planted.

K. KIMES: "Planted" would be a good word, sir, and I know you're going to -- you, and the public and the media are going to view the word "planting" and you're going to think, oh God, that's so easy for them to say, I don't believe them. But here is a fact. There are exhibits that prove that there was a camera, a video camera, sir -- and God knows I'm surrounded by video cameras right now. There was a video camera on 18 East 65th Street. The D.A. mistakenly, while they were taking photos of the alleged blood on the sidewalk, they got a little shot in the corner of a large video camera, and the angle was pointed right at the front of 18 -- pardon me 20 East 56th Street.

KING: Which tells you?

K. KIMES: Which tells me, no notes two years. And if they wanted us, and if they wanted to prove our guilt, they would have taken that film and they would have used that camera as an aspect of their leading evidence in the case. That camera is nothing but wires now. It is gone. They cut the camera out, and they did it intentionally.

KING: Because they want to get you?

K. KIMES: Yes.

KING: And why do they want to get you, do you think? New York City police don't you.

K. KIMES: I think we're the easy whipping boy.

KING: But they don't have a victim -- I mean, they don't have a body, so...

K. KIMES: Thank you for giving me that much, Larry, yes.

KING: No, but if you don't have a body, then there is no uproar without having some cause and effect, right? Why would you be whipping boy when someone is just missing?

K. KIMES: Well, Larry, if I may, it's an election year. Publicity, negative publicity, the public loves it. We're selling papers, clearly. I'm slightly interesting these days, you know, I'm an interesting topic. But why me? Because I'm easy. I'm a foreigner. I'm out of town. They can just point the finger at the out of towner. There's always been an easy ability for people to just pick on someone who's not the local.

KING: And lots of background problems, you and your mom, right?

K. KIMES: Not me.

KING: Not you, your mother, though.

K. KIMES: No, but mom had problems 25 years ago, Larry. But the way D.A. and the judge misconstrued it, they made it seem like it was background problems a year ago, but this was 25 years ago.

KING: So you don't like the term "grifters" or the term...

K. KIMES: Would you like the term "grifters"?

KING: No one would. Well, some people -- there was a movie about them, and some people might think...

K. KIMES: I don't give a damn about any movie. That's unfair and...

KING: Good grifters are con artists. Grifters don't kill you.

K. KIMES: There's no such thing as a good grifter, sir. And the term "grifter" is nothing more than an allegation that is an unprovable event. There is no proof of me grifting, or conning or killing. I did not commit any crimes.

KING: Media played this up, or...

K. KIMES: We're selling papers right now.

KING: What did this woman mean to you? Did you like her?

K. KIMES: Sir, my contact with her was minimal, as proven throughout the trial.

KING: You didn't know her very well at all.

K. KIMES: I maybe had interactions with her on two to three occasions, whereby there were not arguments, whereby there were nothing negative, or hostile, threats, accusations were never made. You know, it's interesting, I wasn't even at the scene of the crime, Larry, when this alleged murder occurred on the date. I was at the Hilton.

KING: Nor did you have a motive?

K. KIMES: No, in my opinion, I don't believe I did.

KING: We'll be right back at Rikers Island with Ken Kimes, after this.




LES LEVINE, KIMESES INVESTIGATOR: Con people don't kill, they con, and they bleed them off to a point where they can't bleed them anymore and they disappear. The interesting aspect of this is that they are charged with the disappearance, or they are alleged to have made three or four people disappear, and yet they are these cunning people who can absolutely make people disappear without a trace. And then all of a sudden in California, they leave a body in dumpster. It just doesn't flow.



KING (on camera): Do you think, Ken, that your paying a price for your past problems -- with charged with four felonies, robberies and the like, that your past lead to this?

K. KIMES: I have no past.

KING: You have no...

K. KIMES: I have no criminal history.

KING: Well, this note, you just tell me if I've got it wrong...

K. KIMES: Well, you don't have it wrong...

KING: That you were charged with four felonies, strongarm robbery, resisting an officer, battery. The judge allowed you as a first-time offender to plead guilty to two of the charges in a deal that would wipe the record clean. Is that true?

K. KIMES: What's that about?

KING: None of that ever happened? I'm just giving you notes.

K. KIMES: There was a little thing in Florida, and it was over three lipsticks. That's not breaking into a house, that's not allegedly trying to kill someone. That's three lipsticks, no.

KING: Stories begin like that.

K. KIMES: I think that's what -- I think that's all the D.A. had in which to show any kind of negativity against me, Larry, not -- there is another side of this aspect as well other than the three lipstick incidents. I was a UCSB College student. I had lot of friends. I had a fun life. I had a great father. I was very proud of my mom and dad.

KING: And you were raised fairly wealthy, right?

K. KIMES: Yes, in my opinion.

KING: Yes, so you had a good life.

K. KIMES: Yes, I did.

KING: My gosh, to have all this come around you must be mind- boggling to you.

K. KIMES: It's difficult, and it's unfair.

KING: Unless you did something wrong, then it's terrible, I mean, then you're just, you know, getting away with something. But why would you do this?

K. KIMES: Well, Larry, I don't think it's a fair interjection. I did not do this. I did not commit this crime. I was arrested at the Hilton. There are no eyewitnesses. There was no physical evidence. I have no motive to commit this.

KING: I'm trying to figure out, what was your motive? What was the motive the prosecution believed?

K. KIMES: I think that would be...

KING: They believed -- you have to have something to gain...

K. KIMES: They said that we wanted to rob the house. They said we wanted to steal the mansion. For the love of God, how do you steal a mansion?

KING: No, if you falsify any documents and get rid of a body.

K. KIMES: In Manhattan? In New York? This is the year 2000. How do you steal a mansion? Why is there no notes?

KING: Your mother thinks that other people formed a fraudulent act here, that some people, somebody had a benefit from...

K. KIMES: There's a possibility, but we had nothing to do with it. And clearly, my mom and myself who are innocent of this aspect.

KING: Do you believe she's dead?

K. KIMES: This woman? Honestly? I have no idea. And for me to speculate would make me as bad as the jury who speculated upon us.

KING: Your mother is, very, very, very angry, she says mostly for you.

K. KIMES: Yes, well, my mom is a wonderful caring mother, and her world is me, and she is my world. But, Larry, is it, I mean, I don't plane to backtrack here, but you know, a lot of people say they're not believable, you can't trust them, they're liars.

KING: I'm not saying that.

K. KIMES: They're conmen. No, you're not, you're not, and I appreciate your giving me a fair shot. But, the public at large has not given us a shot, because the media has not reported what has been covered up -- film, camera and blood.

KING: But the media loves a good story. I mean, if they could find -- if there's another person, you don't think anyone in the media would love to break the story? "The New York Post" wouldn't love tomorrow to say "body found, culprit caught."

K. KIMES: Well, Larry, let's do it, Larry, let's do it, let's do another show, let's do a round two of this interview, because there is blood, and I can't plant blood. I can't create blood.

KING: Something we asked your mother about, have to ask you. What do you make of the stories of this incestuous relationship with you and your mother.

K. KIMES: That's just terrible. That's just hype.

KING: Where did that come from, do you think?

K. KIMES: You know where that comes from, it's the same thing like they were trying to say that my mom broke out of jail recently.

KING: Or tried to break out of jail. I forgot to ask her about that.

K. KIMES: A 65 -- well, I will bring it up for you, Larry, look.

KING: How did she plan this?

K. KIMES: You know why they did that? They did that because I was seeing my attorneys, and they don't want us to see them. They don't want us to have counsel visits. They don't even want us to have even access to you.

KING: The "they" is who?

K. KIMES: Is the judge and the D.A. and whoever other entities are behind this.

KING: Where were you on the day this supposedly happened?

K. KIMES: The Hilton. The cell phone records. There are cell phone records that prove we were not even in the apartment.

KING: You were staying at the Hilton in New York.

K. KIMES: We were not even in the apartment. There is... KING: You were at the Hilton?

K. KIMES: Yes, I was at the Hilton.

KING: As a guest.


KING: Just there.

K. KIMES: It was July 5. As you know, as a Manhattan resident, July 5 is a happening day for street fares and all kinds of fun activities. We were out having a normal day, and there was...

KING: You made calls from the cell phone.

K. KIMES: Yes. From the cell phone.

KING: That would prove?

K. KIMES: That prove that at all times, we were not even there.

KING: Why didn't you testify?

K. KIMES: Why didn't I testify? Because I thought my mom was going to have a shot at testifying on her own.

KING: But when she didn't, why didn't you?

K. KIMES: Well, why didn't I? I figured at the beginning, we wanted to get Court TV to come in. I figured, if this judge isn't going to let Court TV come in, and is only going to allow a one-sided print media to get only what the DA feeds them, I might as well be careful and stand guard knowing what kind of unfairness is going to take place.

KING: Even though jury would have been ability to see you.

K. KIMES: Never. It was too late. At that point, there was not a chance.

KING: So you knew you were a dead duck.

K. KIMES: I didn't know I was a dead duck, but I knew the judge was out to get us. I knew, that -- that my attorney wasn't able to bring out the issues.

KING: Are you going to...

K. KIMES: Not that he didn't try. He tried, but the judge wouldn't let him.

KING: Do you think you're going to win on appeal?

K. KIMES: Yes, absolutely.

KING: Thanks, Ken.

K. KIMES: Thank you.


KING: As you've heard, the Kimeses make some serious allegations against the police and the judicial system. When we return, reaction from New York City's police commissioner.


KING: One quick note. We asked the judge and the prosecutors for the Kimes case for an interview; they declined. But joining us from New York, Police Commissioner Howard Safir.

Commissioner, the lady in question tells us that all of this evidence was planted by the police. The things they reported finding in their automobile just weren't there at the time. What do you make of that?

HOWARD SAFIR, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, that is not true. I mean, Sante and Kenneth Kimes join the hundreds of guilty people in prison who claim that they were framed, that they never committed the crimes. These are two of the most cunning and probably two of the most evil criminals that we've ever dealt with.

KING: Why -- I know you are very harsh with that word, evil and cunning. What do you mean by "evil"? I mean, you've -- you've had serial killers in New York.

SAFIR: But these are people without conscience. These are people who prey on older people, prey on the weak, have absolutely no accountability or sense of responsibility. And these are people who took -- were taken into confidence by Mrs. Silverman, broke that trust, murdered her, secreted her body somewhere. And a jury of their peers was absolutely convinced that they committed this crime.

KING: Was it very difficult, Howard -- I know you're not the prosecutor in the matter; you're just the arresting people -- to prove a case when there's no body?

SAFIR: Well, it is very difficult, but New York City detectives put in thousands of hours, did hundreds of interviews, got all kinds of documentary evidence, and were able to convince the jury convincingly that these two individuals committed this crime.

KING: The concept that she kept raving during this hour about a witch hunt by the police and that the New York City police force is one of the worst in America and that they were out to get her -- we could never figure out why her, why just finding an automobile that was stolen would you suddenly plant evidence, and something a few -- you know, a mile or two away -- why them. Yet she continued this harangue.

SAFIR: Well, the fact is we never even heard of the Kimes before July 6th, 1998. In fact, they were being arrested in connection with a fraud charge from Utah. One of our detectives happened to be working with the FBI on that task force. When they found all of this documentary evidence and other evidence relative to Mrs. Silverman, he happened to be watching television as we announced that Mrs. Silverman was missing, and he put it together. And he was able to put together through his own investigative skills the fact that these people obviously had a connection to Mrs. Silverman.

You know, so this charge that there's a witch hunt, we never even heard of these people before and had no reason to be after them.

KING: So in other words, Howard, what you're saying is this was a darn good piece of police work?

SAFIR: This is a great piece of police work. I mean, the fact to convince two individuals with no forensic evidence, with no body, and to convince a jury that they were absolutely guilty is good detective work, and also great work on the part of the prosecutors.

KING: One thing we couldn't come to, what was motive, Howard? They said they -- they had no motive.

SAFIR: The motive was very simple. We found in their possession evidence that they were intending to transfer Mrs. Silverman's multimillion-dollar townhouse to themselves. In fact, Mrs. Kimes posed as Mrs. Silverman to get one of the documents notarized. So the motive was very clear: It was greed.

KING: Now, if grifters -- isn't it usually the fact that grifters or con artists don't kill?

SAFIR: Well, you know, I don't think there's a formula for con artists or grifters, and I think the Kimes developed their own formula. And you know, they still have Mr. Kazdin's death to answer for in Los Angeles, where they've been indicted.

K. KIMES: That's right, and as I understand it from talking to the folks in New York and at Rikers Island, they don't expect Los Angeles to act on that unless this case were overturned.

SAFIR: I think that's right, and I think, you know, I think they're going to have their shot at an appeal. But based on what I know I don't think they're going to be successful.

KING: Did you get to meet them, Howard, at all?

SAFIR: I did not, but I have watched enough tapes of them and I have seen enough of the evidence, and been briefed by the detectives on a regular basis to know just what kind of individuals these are.

KING: And they are both now in prison upstate, right?

SAFIR: That's correct.

KING: As I understand it -- when we taped these interviews that are running tonight, that was their last day at Rikers. So they're at their permanent prisons now. SAFIR: Right, and you know, from my viewpoint, they're exactly where they should be, because every place you look where the Kimes have been, there is either a body or somebody missing.

KING: There always -- as we said earlier, if it looks like a duck, and walks and quacks, it's probably a duck.

SAFIR: I think that's exactly right.

KING: Thank you, commissioner. Always good seeing you.

SAFIR: Good to see you, Larry.

KING: Commissioner Howard Safir, police commissioner of New York. That's this hour. Tomorrow night, from Austin, Texas, Governor George W. Bush of Texas, who within a week will be nominated for the presidency of the United States by his party.

Thanks for joining us and good night.



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