Sante Kimes, a con artist and murderer who teamed up with her son to kill at least two wealthy socialites in one of the most lurid true crime stories of the 1990's, died in prison this week.

Sante, who was 79, had a long criminal history that included a 1986 conviction for illegally transporting housekeepers from Mexico and keeping them as slaves.

But she remained relatively under the radar until 1998, when she and her son were arrested in the murder of Irene Silverman, an elderly New York socialite and former Rockette.

Prosecutors said Sante and Kenneth conned and killed Silverman in an attempt to steal her $10 million Upper East Side townhouse.

Per the New York Times:

Two years later, at a raucous trial in which Ms. Kimes was scolded by a judge for passing notes to reporters, she was found guilty with her son of killing Ms. Silverman in an elaborate plot that involved cheap disguises, false identities, tapped telephones, forged deeds, a stolen credit card and at least three fake offers of Caribbean vacations.

The authorities said that Kenneth Kimes had strangled Ms. Silverman, and that the mother and son then disposed of the body in garbage bags. Her body was never found. In a search of their car and luggage, the police found guns, plastic handcuffs, fright masks, tapes of Ms. Silverman's telephone conversations and a fake deed to the Silverman home.

Sante and Kenneth were also found guilty in the murder of David Kazdin, a wealthy Los Angeles businessman whose body was discovered in a trash can in 1998. During the trial, Kenneth testified his mother killed Kazdin after he discovered Sante had taken out a $280,000 loan in his name.

Sante, the daughter of an Oklahoma prostitute and a fan of Victorian evening wear, was later portrayed by Mary Tyler Moore in the 2001 made-for-TV movie, "Like Mother Like Son."

[image via AP]