Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182

For immediate release:

Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Pataki extradites Kenneth Kimes to California to face murder charge, death penalty

In accordance with an executive agreement between Governor George E. Pataki and Governor Gray Davis of California, New York inmate Kenneth Kimes - already serving a life sentence here for murder - is now in Los Angeles to face murder charges that could subject him to the death penalty. Extradition is pending against his mother, convicted in the same New York murder as her son, who faces the same California charges.

"These murderers must be held accountable for each and every one of their vile acts," Governor Pataki said in October when announcing the signing of the executive agreement that led to today's extradition.

Kenneth Kimes was moved out of the disciplinary housing unit at Clinton Correctional Facility in Clinton County at 9:05 a.m. Tuesday, in the custody of members of this Department's elite Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT). He was brought without incident to the Albany County Sheriff's Office at the Albany International Airport. No further details on his movement will be released for security reasons.

At the Albany County Sheriff's airport office, custody of Kimes was transferred from this Department to two Los Angeles police detectives. They escorted Kimes from the sheriff's airport office, across the tarmac and aboard a commercial flight to Los Angeles. At no time was he in a public-access area of the airport.

Announcement of Kenneth Kimes' extradition was withheld for security reasons until he was in Los Angeles. He arrived there Tuesday at 11:45 p.m. (EST) without incident

Governors Pataki and Davis signed an agreement on August 11, 2000, for the extradition of Kimes, 25, and his mother Sante, 66, to Los Angeles where they face the capital crime of murder "with special allegations." On March 13, 2001, the Clinton County Court ordered Kenneth Kimes extradited to California. Extradition proceedings against Sante Kimes are underway in Westchester County.

The agreement signed by the two governors states that if a death penalty is imposed, the defendant(s) will remain in California for imposition of that sentence. Any lesser result requires that California incur the costs, upon New York's request, of returning the defendant(s) to serve the unexpired New York sentence(s).

Kenneth Kimes is serving a sentence of 125 1/3 years to life, his mother a sentence of 120 2/3 years to life, for the murder of, and other crimes against, a Manhattan socialite whose body has not yet been found. Kimes, who was received into the prison system on July 11, 2000, is eligible for parole in 2123. His mother, who entered the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County on July 12, 2000, is eligible for parole in 2119.

Kenneth Kimes took producer Maria Zone hostage on October 10, 2000, while she was interviewing him at Clinton for a Court TV story. Just over four hours later, staff subdued Kimes and Ms. Zone was freed with only minor injuries. Kimes was given eight years confinement in the disciplinary housing unit in response to that assault. Kimes told prison officials he hoped that the taking of a hostage would force Governor Pataki to deny Governor Davis' request to extradite his mother to California to face murder charges.