Reports say Kimes admitted killing missing millionaire

NEW YORK - The male half of a mother-and-son grifter team convicted of murdering an elderly millionaire has finally admitted killing her and said her body was dumped somewhere in New Jersey, according to published reports.

Kenneth Kimes, 25, told police during an interview Tuesday that he threw Irene Silverman's body into a ditch at a New Jersey construction site, newspapers reported Thursday.

The confession comes after 28 months when both Kimes and his mother, Sante, 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, a former Radio City Music Hall dancer and widow of a real estate millionaire, 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 "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, told the News he was surprised at the confession.

''He's always adamantly denied his involvement in the disappearance of Irene Silverman,'' Sachs said.

Kimes didn't tell police the exact location of the Silverman's body but said it took him almost an hour to drive from Silverman's home to the site, the reports said. Police are considering the best way to begin another search and might seek court permission to remove Kimes from prison and drive him around to jog his memory.

The two are also charged in the March 1998 slaying of California businessman David Kazdin, whose body was found in a Dumpster near Los Angeles International Airport. That trial is expected to begin next year, and they could face the death penalty.


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