Thirty Eight Witnesses A.M. Rosenthal

51HS+jmXXuL._AA160_Pub: Open Road Media


In the early hours of March 13, 1964, twenty-eight-year-old Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was stabbed to death in the middle-class neighborhood of Kew Gardens, Queens. The attack lasted for more than a half hour—enough time for Genovese’s assailant to move his car and change hats before returning to rape and kill her just a few steps from her front door.

Yet it was not the brutality of the murder that made it international news. It was a chilling detail Police Commissioner Michael Joseph Murphy shared with A. M. Rosenthal of the New York Times: Thirty-eight of Genovese’s neighbors witnessed the assault—and none called for help.

In 1964 Catherine Genovese was attacked 100 yards from her home by a knife wielding man,  he stabbed her to death and then ejaculated on her body.

38 people witnessed the attack, one man even shouted at Winston Moseley to ‘leave that girl alone’. Yet no-one called the police or went to help her.

Three time Winston was scared off , by the neighbours lights going on or windows being opened so people could see where the screams of Catherine were coming from, and three times he returned to stab her again, eventually killing her.

Catherine Genovese was a barmaid, separated from her husband who ‘ran around with the wrong crowd.

Thirty Eight Witnesses examines why these neighbours, some of whom were probably friends with Catherine didn’t help in  here time of need.

Winston Moseley confessed to two other murders and several muggings, and right up to 1995 he was appealing his sentence of life imprisonment, which was commuted from a death sentence.

There are more questions than answers with this read, one being what was the social conscience and moral obligations of the 38 people involved. Another being what would you, yourself have done if you had been there on that fateful night.

The excuses of the potential witnesses range from, ‘I didn’t want to get involved’ to ‘I thought it was a lovers quarrel’. This 100 page true tale makes you wonder.





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