updated 3/22/2005 2:17:59 PM ET 2005-03-22T19:17:59

A mother-son duo previously convicted of killing a wealthy New York woman have been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing a Los Angeles businessman.

The mother, Sante Kimes, is “one of the most evil individuals” Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy-Powell said she has encountered.

The judge said Kenneth Kimes, who pleaded guilty in 2003 to killing businessman David Kazdin and testified against his mother, was brutalized and manipulated by his mother. The judge, however, said he must take responsibility for his crimes.

“At least he finally stepped up to the plate,” Kennedy-Powell said at Monday’s sentencing. “I do think that it was a real turning point in his life to cut that umbilical cord or whatever the stranglehold she had on him.”

Sante Kimes, 71, was convicted last July of first-degree murder in the death of Kazdin, whose body was found in a trash bin in 1998.

Son testifies about killing
Kenneth Kimes said his mother planned the killing and sent him to do the job. He testified that he shot Kazdin in the back of the head at close range and recruited someone at a homeless shelter to help him dispose of the body.

He said his mother decided to kill Kazdin, an old friend, after Kazdin discovered that she had fraudulently taken out a $280,000 loan by forging his signature.

In 2000, the Kimeses were convicted in New York of murdering Irene Silverman, an 82-year-old widow whose body has never been found. Prosecutors said the pair conspired to steal Silverman’s $7 million Manhattan town house and other possessions. In that case, Sante Kimes was sentenced to 120 years in prison without parole and her son received a 125-year sentence.

California and New York agreed earlier that Sante Kimes would be returned to New York to serve her sentences. Under a plea agreement, prosecutors will not oppose Kenneth Kimes’s expected request to serve his sentences in California.

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