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Catherine "Kitty" Genovese

Born: Brooklyn, NY
July 7, 1935
Died: Dead on arrival at
Queens General Hospital
Jamaica, NY
March 13, 1964
Buried: Lakeview Cemetery
New Canaan, CT
Employed: Manager
Ev's Eleventh Hour Club
193-14 Jamaica Ave.
Hollis, NY
Resided: 82-70 Austin St.
Kew Gardens, NY
Parents: Vincent and Rachel Genovese
Siblings: Vincent, Susan (Wake- man), William, and Frank

The Killer's Parole Hearing:
The killer, Winston Moseley, was again denied parole in January of 2006. You can review his prison details by clicking here and typing "Winston" and "Moseley" (without the quotation marks) in the appropriate text search boxes.

What you think you know about the case might not be true

By J. De May
       Member of the Board of Directors of the
       Richmond Hill Historical Society

[Revised: May 13, 2006]

What follows is the March 27, 1964 New York Times article that first broke the story of Kitty Genovese and the 38 witnesses. It remains today the primary source of popular information about the case. However, as explained below, evidence from her killer's trial and other sources shows that the popular account of the murder is mostly wrong.

The comments appearing against the tinted background are mine, and not those of Martin Gansberg or anyone else connected with the New York Times. My comments are not included in the Times copyright.

Throughout this page, I will cite to various media accounts of the case. I do so only for the factual statements they contain and not because the authors of those accounts agree with the opinions I express here.

My thoughts, comments and opinions about this case along with all images created by or for me are released to the public domain. They may be copied and used without credit or compensation to me except that, for the illustration that appears on this page, credit must be given to the artists, Alexandra and Rebecca Chipkin of Kew Gardens, NY. I claim no rights in the trial transcript and briefs copied below.
  • Click here to read a shortened version of this article which summarizes its main points.

  • Click here for a bibliography and list of sources for the case.

[Reprinted with permission from the March 27, 1964 New York Times. Copyright © 1964 by the New York Times Co.]

37 Who Saw Murder Didn't Call the Police

Apathy at Stabbing of Queens Woman Shocks Inspector


For more than half an hour thirty-eight respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens. Twice the sound of their voices and the sudden glow of their bedroom lights interrupted him and frightened him off. Each time he returned, sought her out and stabbed her again. Not one person telephoned the police during the assault; one witness called after the woman was dead.
The first paragraph of this article contains 6 errors. As will be explained below:
  1. Not all of the 38 witnesses were eye witnesses.

  2. With the exception of three people, it is almost certain that none of the eye witnesses saw any of the stabbings.

  3. The police were called right after the first attack.

  4. None of the eye witnesses could have watched Kitty or her attacker for half an hour because they were only visible to them for a few moments.

  5. There were only 2 separate attacks not 3; and the second attack occurred in the ground floor hallway of a building where only one of the 38 witnesses could have seen it.

  6. Kitty was still alive when the "one witness" called police.
[The Times article continues:]

That was two weeks ago today. But Assistant Chief Inspector Frederick M. Lussen, in charge of the borough's detectives and a veteran of twenty-five years of homicide investigations is still shocked.

He can give a matter-of-fact recitation of many murders. But the Kew Gardens slaying baffles him - not because it is a murder, but because the "good people" failed to call the police.

"As we have reconstructed the crime," he said, "the assailant had three chances to kill this woman during a thirty-five minute period. He returned twice to complete the job. If we had been called when he first attacked, the woman might not be dead now."
Kitty might not have been saved in any case. I'll explain why at the end of this article.
[The Times article continues:]

This is what police say happened beginning at 3:20 A.M. in the staid, middle-class, tree-lined Austin Street area:

Twenty-eight year old Catherine Genovese, who was called Kitty by almost everyone in the neighborhood, was returning home from her job as a manager of a bar in Hollis. She parked her red Fiat in a lot adjacent to the Kew Gardens Long Island Rail Road Station, facing Mowbray Place. Like many residents of the neighborhood, she had parked there day after day since her arrival from Connecticut a year ago, although the railroad frowns on the practice.

She turned off the lights of her car, locked the door and started to walk the 100 feet to the entrance of her apartment at 82-70 Austin Street, which is in a Tudor building, with stores on the first floor and apartments on the second. The entrance to the apartment is in the rear of the building because the front is rented to retail stores. At night, the quiet neighborhood is shrouded in the slumbering darkness that marks most residential areas.
The fact that the neighborhood was "shrouded" in "slumbering darkness" is something to keep in mind in evaluating what the witnesses were able to see.
[The Times article continues:]

Miss Genovese noticed a man at the far end of the lot, near a seven story apartment house at 82-40 Austin Street. She halted. Then, nervously she headed up Austin Street toward Lefferts Boulevard, where there is a call box to the 102d Police Precinct in nearby Richmond Hill.
Kitty was probably not headed for the police call box. More likely she was trying to reach a neighborhood bar called Old Bailey just a few doors up Austin Street.
Click here for diagram.

Click here for photograph.

"She thought the regulars at Bailey´┐Żs Bar would help her escape [her attacker's] knife. But luck was against her. Tragically, the bar was shuttered early because a new bartender was on duty. He had closed the bar before midnight because there had been fighting among patrons, a common occurrence that neighbors constantly complained about."
[Bracketed text is mine.] [Footnote 1]
[The Times article continues:]

She got as far as a street light in front of a bookstore before the man grabbed her.
Much has been made of the fact that the first attack occurred near a street light. In its 1999 program on the case, the History Channel showed a picture of the street light as it appeared in 1999 and said it created a "stage-like scene" for the attack. [Footnote 2.] However, the street light there today (and in 1999) is not the one that was there the night Kitty was attacked. The new one is brighter and covers a wider zone. [Footnote 3.] Surviving witness and retired New York City police officer, Michael Hoffman, says in an affidavit that the old street light was not very bright. [Footnote 4.] Hoffman's recollection is corrborated by the testimony of the killer, Winston Moseley.  At one point during his murder trial, Moseley testified that he did not worry about being identified when he returned to continue his attack on Kitty because:
"... it was late at night and I was pretty sure that nobody could see that well out of the window."
[Footnote 5] So, while the old street light did make things easier to see, it was not as much help as is now supposed. Moreover, in 1964 unlike today, the adjacent Long Island Rail Road parking lot was not lit. So, on the night Kitty was attacked, the absence of that ambient light added to what the Times described above as the "darkness" that "shrouded" the neighborhood.

The dim lighting is an important factor here. Even though witnesses could have seen the figures of Kitty and her attacker, smaller telltale details such as the use of a knife or the presence of blood would have been harder to detect. As you will see below, one of the two witnesses we know of who saw the first attack thought she was seeing Kitty beaten rather than stabbed.
[The Times article continues:]

She screamed. Lights went on in the ten-story apartment house at 82-67 Austin Street, which faces the bookstore.
The 10 story building was the Mowbray Apartment House which occupies the length of the block. (I estimate the Austin Street side of the building to be about 150 feet long.) The Mowbray is almost flush with the sidewalk and trees line the block just as they did then. The only illumination was from the street light.
Click here to view a 2003 photograph of the scene.

Click here to view another 2003 photograph of the scene.
Given the building's size and the presence of trees along the street, residents on the upper floors, in the courtyard, and further down the block would not have had the same close and unobstructed view as those on the first few floors directly across the street, nor would they have been able to hear anything as well.
[To see a copyrighted 1964 photograph (on another website) of the street - lined with trees - as seen from the top floor of the Mowbray, click on the following link and scroll down to page 21. Close out the window to return here. Click Here.]
The Times mentions just above that "Lights went on in the ten-story apartment house" after Kitty's outcry. Witnesses who had to turn on the bedroom lights to get to their windows were probably seniors - a conclusion corroborated by one newspaper at the time which reported, "Many of the people who live in the buildings near Kitty Genovese's apartment are elderly". [Footnote 6.] If so, then their age is another factor to consider in evaluating what the witnesses were able to see and hear and how they reacted.
[The Times article continues:]

Windows slid open and voices punctured the early-morning stillness. Miss Genovese screamed: "Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me! Please help me!"
When did the witnesses get to their windows?

Take another look at the last few sentences of this Times article:
"[Kitty] got as far as a street light in front of a bookstore before the man grabbed her. She screamed. Lights went on in the ten-story apartment house at 82-67 Austin Street, which faces the bookstore. Windows slid open and voices punctured the early-morning stillness. Miss Genovese screamed: "Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me! Please help me!"
[Bracketed text is mine.] Notice the Times does not say whether Kitty was stabbed for the first time before or after the witnesses got to their windows. The way these sentences are worded (saying Moseley "grabbed" Kitty instead of saying he "stabbed" her), it leads the casual reader to believe that the witnesses got to their windows before Kitty was stabbed - which is something the Times has not actually said. Since the Times set out to show that the witnesses saw all 3 stabbings, this seems a crucial point to fudge. Now, compare that to another account of the first attack written five weeks later by Times Metropolitan Editor, A. M. Rosenthal, the man responsible for this 1964 Times article.
       "Lurking near the parking lot was a man. Miss Genovese saw him in the shadows, turned and walked toward a police box. The man pursued her, stabbed her. She screamed, "Oh my God, he stabbed me! Please help me! Please help me!
       Somebody threw open a window. A man called out, 'Let that girl alone, ' Other lights turned on, other windows were raised. The attacker got into a car and drove away."
[Footnote 7.] This same account can be found in Rosenthal's book about the case, Thirty-eight Witnesses. [Footnote 7.1.] Freed of the fudge factor, this later New York Times story says that the witnesses were awakened and got to their windows after the first attack. Except for two witnesses named Joseph Fink and Andree Picq [see below], no one is known to have seen that first attack. Rosenthal's version of the initial attack squares with that of the Queens County District Attorney who also said that the witnesses got to their windows after the first attack. This is an excerpt from the D.A.'s appellate court brief:
"After she parked her car, Katherine Genovese became frightened and ran when she saw Moseley. He ran after her for about twenty feet and stabbed her twice in the back, on the street. Her screams awakened several of her neighbors ... ."
[Footnote 8.] The sequence of events described by Rosenthal and the District Attorney also sounds more believable. Once he caught up with her, I think Moseley would have stabbed Kitty immediately rather than waited for an audience to assemble. [Footnote 8.1.]

The account given by the killer indicates that the first attack happened swiftly - too swiftly for 38 people to have gotten to their windows in time to see it. Here is an excerpt from his signed confession:
   Q.  You said you went up to her or towards her while she was still in the parking lot?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then she ran from you out of the parking lot?
   A.  Yes.  . . .
   Q.  How far would you say you ran after her, for how far a distance?
   A.  Twenty feet.  . . .
   Q.  Did you say anything to her?
   A.  No.
   Q.  Did she say anything?
   A.  She called for help.
   Q.  And then you say you stabbed her twice while running behind her?
   A.  Yes.
[Footnote 9.] Here is how Moseley described the first attack during his police interrogation, indicating that the chase up Austin Street was a very brief one:
"... 'She started to run up the street. She ran fast, but I can run much faster. I caught up with her in front of one of the stores. The knife was in my hand now. I jumped on her back and stabbed her a few times.'"

[An officer asks if he said anything to Kitty.]

"'No. Maybe I might have if she wasn't running so fast.'"

[Footnote 9.1.] Moseley's account of the details of Kitty's murder were considered very credible. According to a 1964 issue of Life Magazine:
"Moseley has developed a reputation for truthfulness in such matters. No one has had occasion to doubt one word of his detailed confession about killing Kitty Genovese."
[Footnote 9.2.]

What did the witnesses see when they got to their windows?

The Times does not say what the witnesses saw when they got to their windows. There is no suggestion in this Times article that they saw blood or a knife. Neither was there any evidence to that effect given at the killer's trial.
  • One trial witness, Irene Frost, testified only that she saw Kitty on the ground and Moseley running away. [Footnote 10.]

  • Another trial witness, Robert Mozer, saw Moseley kneeling or bending over Kitty, but saw no act of violence. [Footnote 11.]

  • Surviving witness, Michael Hoffman, says in his affidavit that he saw Kitty on the ground and Moseley standing over her. He, too, saw no part of the stabbings. [Footnote 12.]

  • From her vantage point, trial witness, Sophie Farrar, could not see anything. [Footnote 13.]

  • Trial witness, Samuel Koshkin, lived in a building further down the same side of the street on which Kitty was attacked, so, like Sophie Farrar, he could not have seen that first attack. All Koshkin saw was Moseley run to the car parked in front of Koshkin's building and drive off. [Footnote 14.]
None of these witnesses testified to seeing Kitty stabbed, and none of them said they saw the knife or any blood. Only two witnesses are known to have seen the first stabbings.

One was trial witness, Andree Picq, who testified that she saw Moseley beating Kitty. [Footnote 15.] However, there is no evidence that Moseley did anything to Kitty during the first attack but stab her. So it seems apparent that Picq actually saw Moseley stabbing Kitty but - whether due to the dim lighting or disorientation from being suddenly awakened - Picq did not realize what it was she was seeing.

The second was Joseph Fink, the assistant superintendent at the Mowbray Apartment House across the street. According to former Queens County Assistant District Attorney, Charles Skoller:
"He was seated in a sofa chair facing a very large bay window, and he actually saw the first attack take place, he knew exactly what was happening. He saw the knife, the shining blade of the knife as it struck Kitty in the back four times."
[Footnote 15.1.] If there were any other eye witnesses to the first stabbings, they have never been identified. Since Charles Skoller interviewed 20 to 25 of the witnesses in preparation for the trial of Kitty's killer, [Footnote 15.2.], I assume he would have said if there were any other eye witnesses. He does not. What he did tell The New York Times is that he does not believe there were 38 eye witnesses. He found only about half a dozen people who saw anything that could be used at trial. [Footnote 15.3.]. We have already mentioned 5 of them.

What did the witnesses hear?

This Times article says that after Kitty screamed the first time, "Windows slid open" and then Kitty cried out that she had been stabbed. The Times does not say how many windows opened. Technically, that statement would be true even if it were only two windows. However, given the context of this article, a casual reader is left with the impression (again, without the Times actually having said so) that all or most of the witnesses had opened their windows before Kitty cried out she had been stabbed. However, Times Metropolitan Editor A. M. Rosenthal wrote, five weeks later, that the witnesses opened their windows after Kitty's outcry.
       "The man pursued her, stabbed her. She screamed, "Oh my God, he stabbed me! Please help me! Please help me!
       Somebody threw open a window. A man called out, 'Let that girl alone, ' Other lights turned on, other windows were raised."
[See, Footnotes 7 and 7.1 above.] Once again, Rosenthal's sequence of events seems the more likely one.

The witnesses must have been a diverse group, differing as to age, apartment location, soundness of sleep, speed of reaction and, perhaps, health. It strikes me as improbable that, regardless of those differences, the witnesses would all have awakened and arrived at their windows simultaneously, and in time to hear Kitty say something that I would have expected her to say immediately upon being wounded. In fact, only one witness, Irene Frost, is known to have heard Kitty say that she had been stabbed - and Kitty's words to that effect, as quoted by the Times above, came from Frost. [Footnote 16.] If anyone else heard Kitty say she had been stabbed, they have never been identified. As is often the case with witness testimony, other witnesses differed in their recollections of what they heard.
  • Trial witness, Robert Mozer, heard no screams, just Kitty saying "Help me, help me". He described her voice as "talk like". [Footnote 17.]

  • Surviving witness, Michael Hoffman, was awakened by the sound of yelling, not screaming, and he could not make out what was being said, even after he opened his window. [Footnote 18.]

  • Trial witness, Sophie Farrar, heard a single scream. [Footnote 19.]

  • Witness, Samuel Koshkin, simply heard Kitty screaming. [Footnote 20.]

  • Trial witness, Andree Picq heard Kitty scream, "Help me" three times. [Footnote 21.]
Even if we accept (as I do), that Kitty did cry out that she had been stabbed, that does not necessarily mean that other witnesses heard her say it. The Times does not say how many did. Once again, we are simply led to assume that everyone did. Whether a given witness heard it or not would have depended on the interplay of a number of factors that the Times does not consider, e.g.:
  1. The acoustics of the street.

  2. The fact that windows were closed against the cold night air (it was reported to be one of the coldest nights of the year). [Footnote 22.]

  3. How far the witness was from Kitty (remember, the building is 150 feet wide and apartments go up 9 stories with some apartment bedrooms facing only an entrance courtyard rather than the street), [Click here for diagram.]

  4. How wide awake and alert the witness was at the time (Kitty's scream having awakened them from their sleep), and

  5. The age of the witness and whether he or she had any hearing impairment (remember, many of the residents are reported to have been elderly).
In my experience, it can be difficult to make out the words of people speaking or shouting outside on a city street through closed windows, even though their voices might be clearly audible. Furthermore, since Kitty's outcry was what awakened them, it would have been very easy for witnesses (especially elderly witnesses) to miss parts of what she was saying. [Footnote 22.1.] All a witness had to do was miss that one crucial word "stabbed", and the meaning of Kitty's outcry changes. "Help me, I've been stabbed!" is a much more urgent plea than just, "Help me, I've been ___!" As the New York Daily News crime reporter, John Melia, observed in a 1984 article:
"In reconstructing the crime, you have to remember that it was 3:30 on a winter morning, a time when most people are in bed asleep and windows are closed, a time when people are not easily roused."
[Footnote 23.]

Ordinarily, it would not be unreasonable to assume that if witness, Irene Frost, heard Kitty say she had been stabbed, others could have heard it, too. However, if other witnesses heard it, then the Times ought to have been in a position to identify the number of such witnesses if not their names. We know from A.M. Rosenthal's book that the Times reporter, Martin Gansberg, questioned the same witnesses that detectives did - and he did it before publication of this article [Footnote 24.] when the 38 witnesses had no reason to suspect that the national spotlight was about to be turned on them. So, they did not have that reason to be on guard or to color their testimony.

So Gansberg had the opportunity to ask the witnesses what they saw, what they heard, and what they thought while the attack was taking place. If other witnesses heard Kitty say she had been stabbed, Gansberg was in a position to identify how many and to report that fact in this Times article. He does not, and the fact he does not seems odd. Since this article is supposed to be about 38 witnesses who saw and heard a murder, I would have expected Gansberg to concentrate on what they saw and heard. Strangely enough, nowhere in this article does he do that. Instead, as Gansberg says above, this Times article is written from the perspective of what the police were able to piece together afterwards rather than from the perspective of what witnesses saw or heard at the time. As Harvard University Professors Stanley Milgram and Paul Hollander, later observed, the two perspectives were not the same.
"[W]e must distinguish between the facts of the murder as finally known and reported in the press, and the events of the evening as they were experienced by the Kew Gardens residents. ... What [the residents] had, instead, were fragments of an ambiguous, confusing and doubtless frightening episode ... ."
[Bracketed text is mine.] [Footnote 25.]
[The Times article continues:]

From one of the upper windows in the apartment house, a man called down: "Let that girl alone!"
Were there 38 eye witnesses?

The headline and lead paragraph of the March 27, 1964 Times story say that there were 38 eye witnesses. That number turns out to have been incorrect. Subsequent Times' reports indicate that only some of the 38 witnesses saw anything (the precise number was not given or estimated). The rest only heard something. [Footnote 26.] Several months after Kitty's death, A.M. Rosenthal, the Times Metropolitan Editor, wrote his famous book about the case in which he, too, said that not all of the 38 were eye witnesses:
"Of the thirty-eight [witnesses], about eighteen had witnessed or heard each of the attacks; the other twenty had heard or seen one - enough to make them witnesses in court."
[Bracketed text is mine.] [Footnote 27.] Rosenthal gives no breakdown of the number of eye witnesses versus the number of ear witnesses. Notice how his statement is so vaguely worded that it would be true even if there had been only 2 eye witnesses. At a Kitty Genovese Forum held on March 9, 2004 at Fordham University, A.M. Rosenthal denied that he or any other reporter at his paper had ever said there were 38 eye witnesses.
Click here to hear a WMA file [11KB] of Rosenthal's statement.

Click here to hear an MP3 file [82KB] of Rosenthal's statement.
One of the prosecutors at Moseley's trial is former Queens County Assistant District Attorney, Charles Skoller. In an interview with The New York Times, Skoller said:
"I don't think 38 people witnessed it. I don't know where that came from, the 38. I didn't count 38. We only found half a dozen that saw what was going on, that we could use."
[Bracketed text is mine.] [Footnote 27.1.] In a brief submitted to the New York State Court of Appeals, Queens District Attorney Thomas Mackel mentioned only 3 eye witnesses:
"Five occupants of apartments in the vicinity where the deceased was found . . . were awakened on March 13 by screams in the early morning ... . Three of these upon going to their windows actually observed a man brutally attacking a girl in front of a book store."
[Footnote 28.] The D.A.'s reference to 3 people seeing a brutal attack was a bit of hyperbole. The brief goes on to explain that only one of those 3 witnesses (Andree Picq) said she saw Moseley beating Kitty. Robert Mozer only saw Moseley kneeling or bending over Kitty before he ran away. Irene Frost just saw Moseley running away. [Footnote 29.] In an article written in 1984, New York Daily News crime reporter, John Melia, expressed doubt that there was anything close to 38 eye witnesses.
[The Times article continues:]

The assailant looked up at him, shrugged and walked down Austin Street toward a white sedan parked a short distance away.
Every trial witness who saw him testified that Moseley ran back to his car, he did not walk. [Footnote 30.] As Moseley later explained, he suddenly realized that his car was parked nearby, where it might easily be seen by witnesses. [Footnote 31.] And, as you will read below, he came to that realization too late.
[The Times article continues:]

Miss Genovese struggled to her feet.
None of the testimony at Moseley's trial suggests that Kitty had to struggle to get up. Both trial witness, Andree Picq, and surviving witness, Michael Hoffman, say only that she got up "slowly". [Footnote 32.] Trial witness, Robert Mozer testified that:
"She got up, stood up, and kind of looked around like that ... ."
[Footnote 33.] Trial witness, Irene Frost testified that:
"[Kitty] got up. Then it looked like she was reaching for her purse. She bent down again and picked something up. I don't know what it was ... ."
[Bracketed text is mine.] [Footnote 34.] So far, there was nothing in Kitty's body language to tell an unknowing onlooker that she was gravely wounded. Everyone agrees that Kitty then walked away, but there is disagreement as to the steadiness of her gait. Witness, Andree Picq said that Kitty walked away "slowly". [Footnote 35.] According to former New York City Chief of Detectives, Albert A. Seedman:
"[Kitty] was not staggering. If anything, her step was almost dreamlike."
[Bracketed text is mine.] [Footnote 36.] The History Channel described her walk the same way. [Footnote 37.]. If these accounts are correct, then there was still nothing about her body language that would put eye witnesses on notice that Kitty was badly wounded. However, surviving witness, Michael Hoffman, and his father had perhaps the closest view of all. Hoffman describes her walk as more labored.
"The way she walked made us think she was either drunk, or had been beaten up. She walked slowly, holding on to the building wall for support as she did. She staggered."
[Footnote 38.] Ordinarily, that kind of unsteady gait would be a sure sign to an onlooker that something was wrong even if it does not necessarily suggest the possibility of fatal wounds. However, there was another factor that shaped the perceptions of witnesses who did not have Hoffman's view. The Times does not mention it, but the first attack occurred only a few feet from a bar called Old Bailey. Loud early morning behavior outside of any bar is not unusual, and as mentioned above, Old Bailey was no exception. [Click here.] Not having seen the first stabbing, many witnesses probably attributed the incident to alcohol. So, the fact that Kitty got up and walked away at all - whether staggering or not - must have been falsely reassuring to a lot of onlookers who would have thought that everything was really all right, her initial screams notwithstanding. According to Harvard University Professors Stanley Milgram and Paul Hollander:
"The incongruity, the sheer improbability of the event predisposed many to reject the most extreme interpretation: that a young woman was in fact being murdered outside the window. How much more probable, not to say more consoling, was the interpretation that a drunken party was sounding off, that two lovers were quarreling or that youths were playing a nasty prank."
[Footnote 39.]
[The Times article continues:]

Lights went out.
If lights went out, then it looks as if witnesses went back to bed. That fact has to mean they did not understand what was happening. Life Magazine suggested much the same thing in an article written shortly after the murder.
"Not all of these people, it must be said, understood they were watching a murder. Some thought they were looking at a lovers' quarrel. Others saw or heard so very little that they could not have reached any conclusion about the disturbance."
[Footnote 40.] I do not believe any of the witnesses realized at this point that they were watching a murder in progress.
[The Times article continues:]

Moseley returned to Miss Genovese, now trying to make her way around the side of the building by the parking lot to get to her apartment.
There was a drugstore located at the corner of the 2 story Tudor building right next to the parking lot.
Click here for diagram.

[To see a copyrighted 1964 photograph (on another website) of the corner drugstore and adjacent parking lot, click on the following link and scroll down to page 28. Close out the window to return here. Click Here.]
The Times says that Moseley returned just as Kitty was rounding that corner. However, this part of the Times story is clearly wrong. Although Moseley was to return, he would not do so for another 10 minutes or so. [Footnote 41.] By the time he did, Kitty had made her way to the rear of the 2 story Tudor Building and collapsed in a small hallway inside.
Click here for diagram.
There was no evidence at trial that Moseley returned before then or that he intercepted Kitty near the drugstore or on the parking lot side of the 2 story Tudor Building. In fact, while Kitty was walking to the back of the 2 story Tudor Building, Moseley was off moving his car to a parking space on another street. [Footnote 42.]

Something else to note is that once Kitty turned the near corner of the Tudor Building by the drugstore, as the Times reports, she was out of the line of sight of all the Mowbray witnesses except any who might have been watching from one of 9 corner apartments.
Click here for diagram.

Click here for picture.
So, even if they had not gone back to bed, the other Mowbray witnesses could not have seen Kitty for more than the few moments it would have taken her to walk the forty or so feet to that corner - a period of time far shorter than the 30 minutes reported by the Times in the story's lead paragraph. [Footnote 43.]
[The Times article continues:]

The assailant stabbed her again.

"I'm dying!" she shrieked. "I'm dying!"

Windows were opened again, and lights went on in many apartments. The assailant got into his car and drove away. Miss Genovese staggered to her feet.
The Times has just described an attack that, according to every other source I've checked, never occurred:
  • Less than 3 months after this article appeared, the Times reported that police reports of an attack by the drugstore or parking lot side of the 2 story Tudor Building were the result of investigators' misinterpreting a statement given by Mowbray witness, Andree Picq. [Footnote 43.1]

  • Irene Frost was the one Mowbray trial witness who lived in a corner apartment and was able to see Kitty at this time. She testified only that Kitty walked to the rear of the 2 story Tudor Building and then disappeared from sight when she turned the far corner. Frost made no mention of any attack. [Footnote 44.]
    Click here for diagram.
  • Another witness (Samuel Koshkin) who lived in the West Virginia Apartment Building on the west side of the parking lot was also in a position to see such an attack if it occurred, but his testimony made no mention of it either. [Footnote 45.]
    Click here for diagram.
  • None of the trial witnesses testified to hearing the shrieks the Times has just described.

  • Neither the Queens District Attorney who prosecuted the case, nor the former New York City Chief of Detectives who wrote about it (Albert A. Seedman), ever hinted that such an attack took place. [Footnote 46.]

  • Moseley gave a detailed confession of the murder in which he said that his second (and last) attack occurred inside the rear of the 2 story Tudor Building. He made no mention of any attack by the drugstore or on the parking lot side of the 2 story Tudor Building. [Footnote 47.] Since he freely admitted to murder and attempted r*pe, Moseley had nothing to gain by making it appear he had accomplished that in only 2 attacks rather than 3. [Footnote 48.] In fact, he could not have attacked Kitty here since, by all accounts, he was about 2 blocks away, at the time, sitting in his car and trying to disguise his appearance. [Footnote 49.]

  • In 1995, a federal court in Brooklyn denied Moseley's application for a new trial. The court's written decision, which reviewed the facts surrounding the killing, made no mention of a drugstore or parking lot attack on Kitty. [Footnote 50.]

  • In 1999, the History Channel presented a special on the Kitty Genovese case (available on video tape). The description of the murder given both by the narrator and by one of the prosecuting Assistant District Attorneys (Charles Skoller) also makes no mention of a drugstore or parking lot attack. [Footnote 51.]

  • Five weeks after this Times article appeared, Metropolitan Editor, A. M. Rosenthal, wrote about the case in an article for the paper's Sunday magazine. He, too, described only two attacks - one in front of the 2 story Tudor building and one in back - and made no mention of any drugstore or parking lot attack. That same account made it into Rosenthal's book on the case.[Footnote 52.]

  • In 1984, the Times marked the 20th anniversary of Kitty's death with an article that described only the two attacks - one on Austin Street and the other in a hallway in the rear of the 2 story Tudor building.  No reference was made to an attack by the drugstore or parking lot. [Footnote 53.]

  • In 2004, the Times marked the 40th anniversary of Kitty's death with an article that also described only the two attacks - one on Austin Street and the other in a hallway in the rear of the 2 story Tudor building. [Footnote 53.1.]

I can find only one piece of contrary evidence. One year after the murder, the wife of trial witness, Samuel Koshkin, recalled seeing Moseley return three times to attack Kitty. [Footnote 54.] All things considered, I have to believe that 12 months after the fact, Mrs. Koshkin was mistaken in what she remembered. For one thing, if Moseley "returned" three times, that would amount to four attacks - one more than even the Times or any other media outlet ever reported. Furthermore, Mrs. Koshkin's recollection is uncorroborated by the Queens District Attorney, the former Chief of Detectives, Albert A. Seedman, and all the trial testimony including that of her husband. [Footnote 55.]
[The Times article continues:]

A city bus, Q-10, the Lefferts Boulevard Line to Kennedy International Airport, passed. It was 3:35 A.M.
3:35 A.M. is about 15 minutes after the first attack, which the Times reports began at 3:20 A.M. All of the sources I've checked, including this Times article, seem to say that Kitty had made it around to the back of her building well before 3:35 A.M. So, contrary to the lead paragraph of this story, the witnesses could not have watched her for "more than half an hour" because within a minute or so after they first got to their windows, she was no longer in their line of sight.
Click here for diagram.
[The Times article continues:]

The assailant returned. By then, Miss Genovese had crawled to the back of the building, where the freshly painted brown doors to the apartment house held out hope of safety.
The one trial witness who was watching Kitty at this time testified that she walked to the back of the building. There is no suggestion that she crawled although as she made her way along the parking lot side of the 2 story Tudor Building, she began to stagger. [Footnote 56.]
[The Times article continues:]

Moseley tried the first door; she wasn't there. At the second door, 82-62 Austin Street, he saw her slumped on the floor at the foot of the stairs. He stabbed her a third time - fatally.
The final act in this tragedy took place inside a hallway in the rear of the 2 story Tudor building - the side that that faced away from The Mowbray.
Click here for picture.

Click here for diagram.
That means none of the Mowbray witnesses could possibly have seen this stabbing, and the Times' 4 column headline and lead paragraph is clearly wrong in saying they did. (This second attack was by far the longer of the two and involved an attempted r*pe. I am omitting the details of the second attack since they have no bearing on the points I am trying to make.)

Although most people seem to think that Kitty screamed continuously throughout the 30 minute attack, that was not the case.
  • According to former New York City Chief of Detectives, Albert A. Seedman, Kitty screamed or cried out as she was being stabbed the first time, and then did not cry out again until twelves minutes later when Moseley attacked her for the second and last time in a small hallway in the rear of the 2 story Tudor building. Seedman describes this last outcry as being "low" and "too weak for a scream". [Footnote 56.1.]

  • During his police interrogation, Winston Moseley told the officers that after the first attack on Austin Street, he ran to his car and backed it around the block. He sat in the parked car and waited.
    "It was quiet. I didn't hear anybody coming out or doors slamming. I waited ten minutes. It was still quiet."
    [Footnote 56.2.]

Kitty's failure to make any further outcries as she made her way from Austin Street to the rear hallway is not surprising. She was badly wounded by the initial stabbings and probably in shock. Although the Times says she screamed during an attack by the drugstore or parking lot side of the 2 story Tudor Building, we now know that no such attack took place and no such screams were testified to at trial.
[The Times article continues:]

It was 3:50 by the time the police received their first call from a man who was a neighbor of Miss Genovese. In two minutes they were at the scene. The neighbor, a 70-year-old woman and another woman were the only persons on the street. Nobody else came forward.

The man explained that he had called the police after much deliberation. He had phoned a friend in Nassau County for advice and then he had crossed the roof of the building to the apartment of the elderly woman to get her to make the call.

"I didn't want to get involved," he sheepishly told the police.
The neighbor was 31 year old Karl Ross, a poodle trimmer who had once sold Kitty a dog. Ross did not live in the Mowbray. He lived in the 2 story Tudor Building. [Footnote 57.]
Click here for diagram.
The door to his apartment was one flight up from the small hallway in which Kitty was attacked for the second time. [Footnote 58.] In an earlier version of this web page, I made the argument that Ross may not have been sure about what was happening at the foot of the stairs below his apartment door. I now believe that he did know what was going on. In 1984, The New York Times reported that:
"One who [remembered the night Kitty was killed] is an 83 year old woman, who lived next door to Miss Genovese. She was awakened at 3:30 A.M. that night when a friend called to say he had seen the attack but was intoxicated and did not want to deal with the police."
[Bracketed text is mine.] [Footnote 59.] I believe, for the following reasons, that the intoxicated witness referred to in the 1984 Times story was Karl Ross.
  • A long time Kew Gardens resident named Harry (last name withheld for reasons of privacy) told me that he spoke with Ross after the attack. According to Harry, Ross told him that he had returned to his apartment after a night of heavy drinking and that he had seen Kitty in the hallway, but was unable to deal with the situation.

  • In his book, former New York City Chief of Detectives Albert A. Seedman writes that just hours after Kitty's death, Ross (whom he refers to by the pseudonym, Harold Kline) was, "swilling vodka and acting obnoxious" while a detective was trying to question Kitty's roommate. [Footnote 60.]
[The Times article continues:]

Six days later, the police arrested Winston Moseley, a twenty-nine-year-old business machine operator, and charged him with the homicide. Moseley had no previous record. He is married, has two children, and owns a home at 133-19 Sutter Avenue, South Ozone Park, Queens. On Wednesday, a court committed him to Kings County Hospital for psychiatric observation.

When questioned by the police, Moseley also said that he had slain Mrs. Annie May Johnson, twenty-four, of 146-12 133rd Avenue, Jamaica, on February 29 and Barbara Kralik, fifteen, of 174-17 140th Avenue, Springfield Gardens, last July. In the Kralik case, the police are holding Alvin L. Mitchell, who is said to have confessed to that slaying.

The police stressed how simple it would have been to have gotten in touch with them. "A phone call," said one of the detectives, "would have done it." The police may be reached by dialing "O" for operator or SPring 7-3100.
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