Monday, February 27, 2012

You All Know Who Kitty Genovese Was, Right?

She was the poster child for the indifference of New Yorkers to violent crime.  She was stabbed to death in 1964 over a period of about 35 minutes while she screamed for help, and her neighbors heard, but did not bother to call the police.  Did you know that the guy who was convicted of her murder (and that of several other women) was, as of 2006, still alive?  He was sentenced to death, but that was overturned on appeal.  From May 29, 2006 Newsday:

A year later, taken from prison to a Buffalo hospital for minor surgery, Moseley struck a prison guard and escaped. He obtained a gun, held five persons hostage, raped one of them and squared off for a showdown with FBI agents in an apartment building. Neil Welch, agent in charge of the Buffalo FBI office, entered the second-floor apartment where Moseley made his stand. Welch and Moseley pointed guns at each other for half an hour as they negotiated. Finally, Moseley surrendered.
Moseley's periodic requests for parole have repeatedly been denied. During one parole hearing in 1984, Moseley volunteered that he had written Genovese's relatives a letter ``to apologize for the inconvenience I caused.''
A parole commissioner responded acidly: ``That's a good way to say it. They were inconvenienced.''


  1. And is still alive with his November 2011 parole being denied, his next hearing is November 2013.

    He'll be 77 on Friday, having been born March 2, 1935.

  2. The popular myth of her murder is mostly false, however.

    (I note this not because the killer is still alive, but because of the idea that the neighbors "did not bother to call the police" - oft repeated, but false.

    The few that noticed anything [it was, after all, March in New York, and thus cold, and people mostly had their windows shut] did call the police - who did not respond.

    And then she, while still alive, moved out of their view - leaving them thinking that she'd just been mugged rather than stabbed, and given that they'd called the police...

    The moral is not the oft-stated "none of her neighbors cared that she was being murdered in front of them", but "the police didn't bother to even send someone" after the neighbors did call them.)

  3. I would add that the moral of this story ought to be "You can't count on your neighbors to save you, and even if they call the police, you can't count on the police to come and save you, which is why you should carry a gun to defend your own life." Of course, New York at the time practically banned guns, so they did all they can do to prevent Kitty from defending herself.