Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sante and Kenneth Kimes: A Life of Crime

Chip Off the Old Block

Kenneth Kimes Jr.
Kenneth Kimes Jr.

Her son Kenny was already following in her footsteps. Just two months before, he had helped his mother steal some lipsticks from a discount store in Miami, knocking down the store detective before being arrested. Of course, the charges were reduced, bond was posted, and they quickly left town. Who was going to put out an APB for such a petty crime?

Just hours before, the mother and son had committed the ultimate offense. The body inside the suitcase had been a lively 83-year-old socialite named Irene Silverman who owned the East Side mansion and leased out suites to those who could afford to pay the $6000-per-month rent. Celebrities in town for a long stay — singer Chaka Khan and pianist Peter Duchin were regulars — often made up the cast of paying guests. Silverman  didn't need the money; she simply liked company. Her staff cleaned the small apartments. Their generous employer had given the servants the holiday weekend off.

Irene Silverman
Irene Silverman

With everyone gone, Sante and Kenny had forced the old woman into their suite where, after a bloody struggle, she was shot in the head with a stun gun that had paralyzed her. Then Kenny strangled Irene. After that she was wrapped in a shower curtain that had been purchased just for the occasion and trussed up with duct tape.


Why kill an old woman? Well, when the dust cleared, Sante was planning to tell the staff that her "dear friend" Irene had sold her the mansion and would show them a bill of sale if necessary. Besides murder, forgery was another specialty Sante thought she had mastered. The servants would buy her tale, she thought, and Irene — well, that Mrs. Silverman had gone off on a long European vacation would be her tale.

But that was for tomorrow. Right now there was a body inside the trunk of a stolen car that had to disappear. Her son got behind the wheel and the two sped down the block, turned onto Madison Avenue and merged the Lincoln into an ever-present herd of yellow taxicabs.


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