Niagara Gazette

Columns

July 6, 2014

GLYNN: Massive hunt for killer ended on Grand Island

Niagara Gazette — It was a murder destined to be seared into the conscience of this nation. 

In its wake, the heinous crime that occurred in New York City in 1964 reverberated across the Empire State and much of the country. By a quirk of fate, it hit home four years later during a scary scene at an apartment complex on Grand Island.

The savage slaying committed in plain sight is vividly recalled 50 years later by Kevin Cook, an award-winning writer whose articles appeared in the New York Times and New York Daily News, among other leading publications: “Kitty Genovese: The Murder, The Bystanders, The Crime That Changed America (W.W. Norton & Co., 242 pages, hardcover, $25.95)

The man convicted in the outrageous and evil act was Winston Moseley, 29, a punch card operator for a computer company, who lived in South Ozone Park, a wedge of real estate between Aqueduct Race Track and Idlewild Airport (now JFK International).

Genovese, 28, (no relation to the infamous crime lords), was returning home from the bar she managed about 3:15 a.m. on March 13, 1964. When she parked her car in the Long Island Railroad Station, just 100 feet away from her apartment, she sensed there was someone following her. She started to run but Moseley quickly caught up and stabbed her twice in the back. Despite her cries for help, none of the 38 witnesses including many of her neighbors watching from their upstairs windows wanted to get involved. One person at least yelled out, “Leave that girl alone!” The initial calls to the police were apparently not given a high priority. An ambulance arrived nearly an hour after the first attack but it was too late to save the victim.

Even before the trial began, Cook wrote, some media jumped on the apathy issue, noting the “age-old specter of black-on-white rape was lurking behind the grim facts of Kitty’s ordeal.” As expected, Moseley got the death sentence but that was later reduced to life in prison. 

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