Catherine Susan Genovese

Catherine Susan Genovese

Her name went down in history (and in sociology textbooks) in connection with a sad event: the killer beat her to death in front of several witnesses
Date of Birth: 07.07.1935
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Kitty Genovese
  2. The Tragic Event
  3. The Silent Witnesses
  4. The Aftermath
  5. Legacy

Biography of Kitty Genovese

Kitty Genovese, an American woman of Italian descent, was born in New York and lived in Brooklyn. After her mother witnessed a murder, the family moved to Connecticut, except for Kitty who stayed in the city and worked as a bar manager in the Jamaica Avenue neighborhood of Queens. Kitty was a lesbian and lived with her girlfriend.

The Tragic Event

On the evening of March 13, 1964, Kitty arrived home and parked her car. At that moment, Winston Moseley approached her, caught up to her, and stabbed her twice in the back. When Kitty screamed, several neighbors heard her cries. However, due to the cold night and closed windows, only a few realized that she was in need of help. One neighbor shouted through the window, "Leave the girl alone!" Moseley fled, and Kitty slowly made her way towards her apartment. By this time, she was seriously injured.

The Silent Witnesses

The earliest calls to the police lacked clear information about the ongoing attack, which resulted in a low priority response. Only one witness, Joseph Fink, saw the knife attacks during the initial assault, and another witness, Karl Ross, became aware of them after the second attack. Most of the other witnesses believed the screams were just a typical domestic dispute or the cries of intoxicated individuals.

The Aftermath

Kitty Genovese was buried in New Canaan, Connecticut, in a family plot kept secret at the request of her family. Winston Moseley, apprehended shortly after the murder, confessed not only to Kitty's killing but also to two other sexually motivated murders. Psychiatric evaluations determined that Moseley was a necrophile. He had intended to kill any woman he came across that night, and after leaving his sleeping wife, he went out searching for a victim. Moseley described the attack in such detail that there was no doubt about his guilt, and he was initially sentenced to death. However, on June 1, 1967, the New York Court of Appeals commuted his sentence to 20 years imprisonment.

In 1968, Moseley intentionally consumed tainted soup to create an opportunity for a hospital visit. During the trip to a hospital in Buffalo, New York, Moseley overpowered a guard and severely beat him, causing his eyes to become bloodshot. He then took five hostages, one of whom he sexually assaulted. It took two days for the police to capture Moseley and free the hostages. Later, Moseley was involved in the Attica prison riots. Currently, he remains incarcerated, and his request for parole has been denied thirteen times, most recently in March 2008.


The murder of Kitty Genovese has been the subject of numerous books and publications in the United States and other countries, even being included in textbooks on social psychology. However, the story has also been sensationalized, with the number of witnesses fluctuating from publication to publication. The "bystander effect," also known as the "Genovese syndrome," is often cited as an example of mass indifference, despite the fact that the majority of witnesses did not actually see the events unfolding and only heard distant cries without realizing the severity of the situation. The public outcry following Kitty's death led to reforms in the crime reporting system. Despite these changes, a similar incident occurred in the same area ten years later when 25-year-old Sandra Zahler was beaten to death, with many hearing her cries but failing to intervene.