Irene Front heard Catherine’s screams. “There was another shriek,” she testified in court. “And she was lying down crying out.”
The night was once again quiet, the only sound Catherine’s sobbing as she struggled to her feet. Blood streaming from her wounds, Catherine staggered to the side of her building and fought for consciousness. Within five minutes, her attacker had returned and stabbed her again.
“I’m dying, I’m dying,” Catherine cried out. Lights again flashed on, windows opened as tenants peered into the night. The attacker was spotted racing to a white Chevy Corvair and driving away.
From the sixth floor of the apartment building, Marjorie and Samual Kroshkin witnessed the attack from their window.
“I saw a man hurry to a car under my window,” he said later. “He left and came back five minutes later and was looking around the area. “Mr. Koshkin wanted to call the police, but Mrs. Koshkin thought otherwise. “I didn’t let him,” she later said to the press. “I told him there must have been thirty calls already.”
Another witness later said at trial that she heard a scream for help three different times. “I saw a girl lying down on the pavement with a man bending down over her, beating her.”
Determined to live, Catherine made her way to the rear of her building and tried to enter through a back door. It was locked. She slid along the wall until she reached a hallway leading to the second floor, but lost her footing and fell. The man returned.
“We underestimate the damage that these accumulated images do to the brain. The immediate effect can be delusional, equivalent to a sort of post-hypnotic suggestion. The witnesses became confused and paralyzed by the violence they witnessed outside their window. They were fascinated by the drama, by the action, and yet not entirely sure that what was taking place was actually happening.”–Psychiatrist Ralph S. Banay
The attacker was identified as Winston Moseley. He was later arrested in connection with burglary charges and confessed to the murder of Kitty Genovese and two others. His confession details the attack, and he stated his motivation was to kill a woman. He chose Kitty at random.
Moseley showed no remorse and was given the death sentence. But in 1967, the New York Court of Appeals found that Moseley should have been able to argue he was medically insane at the sentencing hearing, and the sentence was reduce to life.
During a 1968 trip to the hospital for surgery, Moseley attacked a guard and beat him, then took a bat and started swinging at those around him. He took five hostages, raping one in front of her husband. He was recaptured after a two-day manhunt. Moseley has been denied bail thirteen times. His next hearing is in November.
Kitty’s murder is a sad representation of some of our worst traits: apathy and selfishness. What would you have done? Do you know of any other murders affected by the Bystander Effect.