3/13/1964 - Sadly, humans have been murdering each other since the biblical times of Cain and Abel, deaths that now number in the millions (there will be 636 in New York City alone during 1964), but that are mostly forgotten except for the police officers and family members effected, or if a famous name is involved, like John Fitzgerald Kennedy or O.J. Simpson. There are exceptions though, and one needless death that still resonates after over fifty years takes place on a late night in the Queens Borough of New York City ... the cruel assault, rape, and stabbing murder of 28-year-old Catherine Susan "Kitty" Genovese.
Genovese - 1961
The oldest of five children born to Italian-American parents living in Brooklyn, New York, Genovese is born on July 7, 1935, and grows up surrounded by love in a brownstone home in the Park Slope portion of the city. Raised Catholic, as a teenager she attends all-girl Prospect Heights High School, where she will be remembered as being very self-assured for her age, having an extremely sunny outlook on life, and being a wonderful amateur dancer. Out of high school, when her mother witnesses a murder and takes the family to the safer climes of New Canaan, Connecticut, Genovese remains in the city, living with her grandparents, as she gets ready for her upcoming marriage ... a marriage which takes place and is then quickly annulled in 1954. Still exploring her life's possibilities, she learns she hates clerical work, and by the late 1950s, Genovese has become a bartender, and works the position so well that she is made manager of Ev's Eleventh Hour Sports Bar in Queens, New York ... and she finds love again, becoming romantically involved with her roommate, Mary Ann Zielonko .
At The Bar
By contrast, the maggot whose life will intersect with Kitty's in a horrible manner, 28-year-old Winston Moseley, is leading a secret existence ... by day, he is a soft spoken, intelligent husband (his second marriage) of a working nurse and father of three (two by his first wife), with no prior criminal record, who works as a Remington Rand tap operator of business machines, but at night, after his wife goes to sleep (or is on duty for multiple shifts), he is a psychopathic thug who has already killed two women, raped an additional eight ladies, participated in between 30 to 40 burglaries, and has discovered he enjoys having sex with the corpses of his victims. Following his routine, at 2:00 in the morning of 3/13/1964, after his wife is asleep, the monster slips out of bed, gets in his car, and starts searching for a female victim to rape and kill ... and wrong place at the wrong time, stumbles on Genovese while she is waiting in her red Fiat for the light to change at a traffic stop on Hoover Avenue, sometime around 3:00 in the morning, as she is returning home from a long night at the bar.
Winston Moseley - 4/1/1964 Booking Photo
Parking her car as usual in the Kew Gardens Station Long Island Railroad parking lot, just 100 feet away from the alleyway entrance to her apartment at the rear of her building, Genovese begins walking towards the building when Moseley approaches her from behind carrying a large hunting knife. Flight or fight, Genovese selects flight first, breaking into a run trying to make it to the front of her building and down the street to the busier nearby corner of Lefferts Blvd., where she hopes to find help. She never makes it though! Breaking into a run himself, Moseley catches up to Genovese and stabs her twice in the back as she screams, "Oh my God, he stabbed me! Help me! Please help me!" Bending over to finish his murder, Moseley instead runs off into the darkness when drawn to the screams, neighbor Robert Mozer opens his window, and yells down at the commotion in the street, "Let that girl alone." When the altercation appears to end, and Genovese stumbles to the back of the building and is out of sight, thinking the disturbance over, he returns to bed.
Then & Now
Where Kitty Parked ... #1 Kitty's Car, #2 First Attack, #3 Where
Genovese Stumbled Back Into Her Building
But the attack isn't over, returning to his car, Moseley waits ten minutes for the police to arrive, but when they don't, he heads back to the apartment building (now wearing a wide-brimmed hat to disguise his face), and following the blood tracks of his victim, finds Genovese almost unconscious in a hallway by the back of her apartment building. There, stabbing his victim as he rapes he (she will be pierced over a dozen times by her attacker's blade, and both her hands have multiple wounds from her attempts to fight off her killer), Moseley finishes his homicide, steals $49 out of Genovese's purse, and vanishes into the night ... roughly 30 minutes has elapsed from the killer's first attack. Too late, a few minutes later, police finally arrive on the scene to find a mortally wounded Genovese, being comforted and held in the arms of a neighbor, five-foot tall, 70-year-old Sophia Farrar (wearing a night gown). Taken away by ambulance at approximately 4:15 in the morning, Genovese passes away en route to a nearby hospital.
Where She Spent Her Last Moments
Just another murder, that categorization changes markedly when a New York Times editor (A. M. Rosenthal) hears from a police commissioner (Michael Murphy) about witnesses to the attack not helping, and demands one of his crime writers play up that angle in his next story (gee, it would seem the Times has been creating fake news for a really, really long time). "37 Who Saw Murder Didn't Call Police," by Martin Gansberg runs on the front page of the paper on March 27, 1964, and just like that, selling papers galore, the story becomes headline worthy, not only across the country, but around the world ... and the reality of what really happened becomes lost ... two separate attacks become three, the handful of people actually seeing the first attack (the second takes place out of view except for a single neighbor, Karl Ross, who opens his door hearing Genovese's screaming, and finds Moseley stabbing and raping his victim ... actions to which the louse responds by slamming his door shut and locking it, calling friends with questions on what to do, and crawling out of a window and going across the roof to a location where he feels safer, and finally calls the police) ... interviewed later by the police, he will be the person that uses the term, "... didn't want to get involved.") eventually becomes 38 people (most claim to only hear "sounds," which they pass off as partying drunks in the street ... only one saw her actually being stabbed according to his testimony at trial), two individuals claiming they called the police while the attack was taking place are ignored (no records of the calls are able to be located), and with the template, "No One Helped," the actions of Sophia Farrar are left out of the story. And it is the lack of caring story that is mostly still remembered to this day.
Gansberg In Action
Murder perpetrated, the New York police are lucky to be searching for a dangerous fool, and the crime is solved six days after it takes place. Caught stealing a TV in a local burglary, arrested and placed in jailhouse custody, Moseley confesses to the TV theft, and then keeps confessing to multiple other heinous acts, including the murder of Genovese. Put on trial, Moseley first pleads not guilty, then has his lawyer change his claim to not guilty by reason of insanity. Not buying it after four days of evidence, the jury takes seven hours to deliberate before turning in a guilty verdict, which Judge J, Irwin Shapiro in turn transforms into a death penalty (witnesses in the courtroom erupt with applause at the verdict ... once quieted, the judge will state, "I don't believe in capital punishment, but when I see a monster like this, I wouldn't hesitate to pull the switch myself."). But appealing the decision and his sentence, Moseley is given a life in prison sentence that includes the someday possibility of parole. Second chance given, the human piece of foul shows why he should be kept behind bars until death ... wounding himself with a knife on purpose, Moseley escapes while being transferred from prison to the Meyer Memorial Hospital in Buffalo, New York, and while at large and in hiding, uses his freedom to take a husband and wife, and a mother and her daughter, hostage, and rapes the wife, Mrs. Matthew Kulaga. Caught days after his escape and sent back to prison (with more behind bars sentencing to be added to the time he is already serving), Moseley is one of the many rioters that snap during the Attica Prison riots of 1971. Showing little remorse for any of his actions over the years, Moseley is denied parole eighteen times, and dies behind bars on March 28, 2016, at the age of 81.
Squirt In Custody
The Rioting At Attica
Closing In On Hell
As for Kitty Genovese, she lives on, rightly or wrongly, in psychological textbooks and lawyer tomes, is still the subject of documentaries, true crime books, novels, movies, songs, and who knows what else, and lends her name to a mental syndrome to explain bystanders not becoming involved (a theory which includes the premise that the more people witnessing an event, the less likely anyone is to step forward, thinking someone else will take care of things ... even if that isn't what really happened in her case). Most importantly though, it is Genovese's murder, and the misbegotten uproar that ensues, that sets in motion the changes that take place so that four years hence, instead of having to dial the number of the police precinct needed to respond to a crime, an individual, nationally, can call simply dial "911" to start help on its way ... hers is a death that will save thousands of lives in the decades that follow.