Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sante and Kenneth Kimes: A Life of Crime

High Plains Hustler

There are two stories on how Kenneth Kimes met Sante, a romantic match surely struck up by the devil. The first is that Sante saw an article on California millionaires in a magazine in 1971. She liked his looks, not to mention his estimated net worth and began circling him like a hawk. The second is that he went after her. He needed a public relations person for an American Bicentennial scheme he was cooking up — one in which he hoped to make several million dollars.

Portrait of Kenneth Kimes Sr. in 1974
Portrait of Kenneth
Kimes Sr. in 1974

Whichever is true, Kenneth Kimes had more than met his match. At first she behaved like a geisha — or maybe a practiced bar girl out to earn a commission on each shot sold. The courtesan talents she had learned at her mother's knee served her well. She would personally stir his whiskey cocktails with her little finger while pretending to keep up with him drink for drink. Instead hers would be deposited into a planter or a wastebasket. When he would get drunk, she would take charge. And if called upon, she could perform every sexual trick in the book. Ken Kimes may have once controlled Charloette, but it was Sante who was calling the shots now.

  "She asked him what his favorite flower was. When he told her, she went to a perfume shop and had them duplicate the fragrance for her to wear. She had him eating out of her hand," a relative of Ken Kimes said.

Sante wasn't yet a trophy wife. In fact, it would take ten years for Ken to marry her. By that time, their son Kenny would be six years old, Sante would have escaped a lengthy prison term, and was already beginning to teach their son the tricks of the trade.


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