NEW YORK — Kenneth Kimes, who along with his mother was convicted earlier this year in the murder of a missing Manhattan socialite, took a reporter captive for several hours Tuesday at the prison where he is serving a sentence of more than 120 years to life.
Kimes grabbed the reporter for Court TV at 2:20 p.m., held a pen to her throat and was threatening to stab her at Dannemora Prison in Clinton, N.Y., according to a spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Corrections in Albany, N.Y.
Court TV reported later that she had been released. No further details of the circumstances of the release were available.
Kimes and his mother, Sante Kimes, have been charged in the 1998 murder of David Kazdin, a San Fernando Valley businessman.
The incident Tuesday occurred in a visiting room, where the reporter, identified as Syracuse, N.Y.-based Maria Zone, was interviewing Kimes for a documentary about him and his mother, who were convicted of the murder of Irene Silverman, a wealthy Manhattan widow.
Kimes grabbed the reporter and ordered security staff, a cameraman and a sound operator out of the room, the spokeswoman said.
The reporter did not appear to be injured, she said.
Negotiations with Kimes were underway, and security was tight at the maximum security facility, which houses 2,865 inmates, the spokeswoman said.
Kimes, 25, and his mother, 65, were each sentenced in June to 125 years to life in prison after being found guilty of 118 charges, including murder, conspiracy, forgery and robbery.
The 82-year-old Silverman disappeared in 1998, and her body has never been found.
Prosecutors say Kenneth Kimes rented an apartment in Silverman's posh Manhattan townhouse and that he and his mother then schemed to steal her home and fortune by forging documents and her signature.
When Silverman grew suspicious, prosecutors say, the pair knocked her out with a stun gun, bound her, choked her, wrapped her body in heavy garbage bags and dumped her in an unknown place.
Silverman, a former Radio City Music Hall dancer, disappeared on July 5, 1998, the same day the Kimeses were arrested in Manhattan on charges related to a bad check they wrote in Utah for a Lincoln Town Car.
The Court TV reporter had interviewed Sante Kimes in prison in Bedford Hills, N.Y., last month.
Commenting on the incident, Kimes' defense attorney, Jose Muniz, said: "Maybe he realizes now that he's never going to be free, and reality has set in. He's capable of killing her."
The Kimeses are to be extradited to Los Angeles, where they are suspects in the March 1998 slaying of a former business associate, David Kazdin.
They also are suspected in a string of other disappearances, including that of a banker in the Bahamas and a lawyer they retained who then vanished in California.
Les Levine, hired by the Kimeses as an investigator in the case, said he was surprised at the incident.
"Kenny has never lashed out in this fashion before, and he has always tried to say that he was a nonviolent person and therefore could not have killed Irene Silverman or David Kazdin," Levine said.
Dannemora, in upstate New York about 20 miles south of the Canadian border, is the state's oldest prison, built in 1845.