Kitty Genovese Killer Dies in Prison

Winston Moseley served 52 years for shocking NYC murder
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2016 3:38 AM CDT
Kitty Genovese Killer Dies in Prison
Winston Moseley is seen in this Sept. 3, 2013, photo provided by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.   (AP Photo/New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision)

Winston Moseley has died in prison, 52 years after he was sentenced to death for a New York City murder that shocked the nation. In 1964, Moseley raped and murdered 28-year-old bar manager Kitty Genovese while neighbors ignored her cries, the New York Times reports. He had spotted his victim while driving around late at night and followed her to her building in Queens. Accounts that 38 people witnessed the murder and not a single person called police turned out to be exaggerated, but the killing prompted national soul-searching and many studies on the "bystander effect." It also led to Good Samaritan laws and hastened the adoption of the unified 911 system for reporting emergencies, the AP reports.

In the Genovese murder, Moseley stalked his victim before stabbing her at least a dozen times. He left the scene after hearing a neighbor's shout but returned to resume the attack. After his arrest, he confessed to two more murders and eight rapes. He was sentenced to the electric chair in 1964, but the sentence was cut to life imprisonment in 1967. The following year, Moseley raped a woman and took five hostages during a prison breakout. In later years, he earned a college degree and said he wanted to make amends for his crimes, but he was still denied parole 18 times, most recently in 2015. People reports that Sunday's episode of Girls was based on the Genovese murder, which creator Lena Dunham calls the "weirdest coincidence." (More murder stories.)

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