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Queens Chronicle

Genovese murderer denied parole again

Queens DA’s office calls Winston Moseley “a deadly predator”

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Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 12:00 pm

The man who murdered Kew Gardens resident Kitty Genovese in 1964 has once again been denied parole.

Winston Moseley, 76, is serving a life sentence for stabbing the 28-year-old Genovese repeatedly in two separate attacks outside her Austin Street apartment building as she came home from the bar in which she worked.

In a decision released Monday, members of the New York State Parole Board said “there is a reasonable probability that you would not live and remain at liberty without violating the law, and your release is incompatible with the public safety and welfare of the community.”

It marked the 15th time Moseley has been denied parole since 1984.

Genovese’s death, on March 13, 1964, was first reported to have occurred while allegedly more than 30 residents of her apartment building ignored her screams for help, leading to articles, books, television shows and even Facebook pages about “Kitty Genovese Syndrome” or witnesses’ refusal to get involved in the big city.

Numerous critics have since claimed the callousness was exaggerated, apparently more a function of spin in an article for the New York Times.

Kew Gardens resident Joseph DeMay went so far as to launch a Website after investigating the case, starting with the Times article. He found there were only a handful of witnesses, none of whom could have seen both attacks on Genovese.

Roy Peter Clark is vice president and senior scholar at the Poynter Institute, a school dedicated to study, advancement and training in journalism in St. Petersburg, Fla. He said sometimes, with a good story, the legend can take off.

A New York City native, he too believes the silent bystander theory has been debunked by history.

“Sometimes the facts can become prisoner to a master narrative,” Clark said, quoting a lecture he once heard on the case.

He cited the modern example of Pvt. Jessica Lynch, an American soldier who was captured in 2003 during the Iraq War when her vehicle was ambushed.

The attractive 19-year-old with aspirations of becoming a teacher became a media darling from Pentagon releases after her rescue by commandos eight days later.

“The narrative of the early version was that she was an Annie Oakley, Supergirl going with guns blazing,” he said. “It wasn’t until some time had passed that we realized that was not how it was.”

Clark said history and fiction are rife with naive country people who come to the big-bad city and run into trouble, and that the original narrative of Kitty Genovese played into the idea that New York can be a big, heartless place.

“But there are plenty of examples of New Yorkers helping people out to show that that is not necessarily the entire truth,” he said.

Genovese was a New York City native who decided to remain in the city when her family moved to Connecticut in 1954. She had been working as manager of Ev’s Eleventh Hour Bar at Jamaica Avenue and 193rd Street at the time of her death.

Moseley was a married family man and Queens homeowner, described by several sources as a business machine operator.

He was arrested six days after the Genovese murder while caught in the act during a burglary and admitted to the crime

He admitted parking near the LIRR lot and chasing Genovese, who began running along Austin Street in a desperate attempt to reach Lefferts Boulevard, stabbing her twice before being scared off by a witness who shouted at him from a window.

He also admitted to returning about 10 minutes later, finding the wounded Genovese in a doorway at the rear of her apartment building and stabbing her 15 more times before taking her money.

Moseley also confessed to the murder of Annie Mae Johnson, 24, in South Ozone Park in February 1963, and an exhumation of her body provided details that supported his confession.

He also confessed to the killing the previous July of 15-year-old Barbara Kralik in Springfield Gardens, though there was no evidence tying him to her killing and another man had confessed.

Moseley initially was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison after an appeals court ruled the trial jury should have heard evidence of mental illness.

He received an additional 15 years in 1970 after pleading guilty to robbery and attempted kidnapping for actions he committed during an escape in 1968, during which he took hostages and raped a woman in front of her husband.

He also was a participant in the 1971 Attica prison riot in which 33 inmates and 10 hostages were killed.

The Queens District Attorney’s Office vehemently opposed Moseley’s release in a letter to the Division of Parole in March, calling Moseley a callous, vicious, violent man who is a serial rapist, burglar and multiple murderer.

“He is a deadly predator, and the Queens District Attorney strenuously requests that this defendant never be released from prison,” wrote Executive Assistant District Attorney Charles Testagrossa.

At least one witness may have called police after the first attack, and one definitely did after the second. Some witnesses thought it might have been a lovers’ quarrel or rowdy bar patrons.

The case resulted in the NYPD reassessing how it handled incoming calls.

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