April 15, 2016

Winston Moseley, Convicted of Kitty Genovese's Murder, Dies in Prison

Winston Moseley, who confessed to murdering Kitty Genovese in 1964, in a murder that has come to epitomize both a lack of caring and the idea of anonymity in urban spaces, has died in prison at the Clinton Correctional Facility, Dannemora, NY. He was 81.  Mr. Moseley also confessed to two other murders, those of Annie Mae Johnson and Barbara Kralik, who was only 15.

Ms. Genovese's death, which was random, has been the subject of numerous films, books, and studies, and has given rise to the notion of the "bystander effect." But its early coverage in the media, most notably in the New York Times, was based on flawed reporting. Although early accounts indicated that no one came to her aid as she lay dying in the hallway of her apartment building and that her neighbors ignored her pleas for help, neighbors actually did help her, and did call the police. As early as the 1980s, books discussing Ms. Genovese's murder have re-investigated the event and debunked much about the early reports. However, many popular accounts still repeat the early, mistaken details, first reported by Abe Rosenthal and subsequently written up by him in his book 38 Witnesses (McGraw-Hill, 1964).

Selected Bibliography:

Kevin Cook,  Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America (Norton, 2015).

Catherine Pelonero, Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences (Skyhorse, 2014).  

Death Scream (DVD, Braun Media, 2008). A drama based on the popular account of the Genovese murder, starring Raul Julia and Art Carney. 

No comments: