Winston Moseley, the murder you know; the killer you don’t
Many people have heard about the tragic murder of Kitty Genovese, but most do not seem to know much about her killer. The public outcry was about the fact that witnesses knew she was being killed and did not step in. It seems to have erased from the public consciousness who and what her killer was.
I did follow her murderer, although I admit that I let him slip into the back of my mind. I grew up in NJ and heard about him on the news. I would listen to my parents talk about him afterwards. My mom also used him the same way she did Bundy, Berkowitz and the Zodiac, as ‘cautionary tale’ figure.
Moseley was recently brought back to my mind by a comment on this blog. It was from someone who grew up in the same building he lived in. She wrote about her fear, about how it effected her and her family.
She inspired me to make this post.
Would it surprise you to know that Winston Moseley had killed 2 times before and had raped many others?
During the week after the murder, the 30 detectives who were assigned to the case sifted through the neighborhood of Kew Gardens and Forest Hills. They located a milkman who was able to furnish a description of a suspect. Others also had observed Catherine’s killer in the area prior to the murder and were able to add to the description. But it wasn’t until six days later, when a suspect was arrested stealing a television during a house burglary that cops had their man: Winston Moseley, 29.
Moseley had no criminal record. He was married, owned a home in Queens and had two kids. Slight of build, barely 5-foot-8, with thin features and a brooding appearance, Moseley was a machine operator who worked in Mt. Vernon in nearby Westchester County. His arrest report, dated March 19, 1964, lists his occupation as “Remington Rand tab operator.” He did not seem to be the type of person who committed street muggings or murder. But Moseley quickly confessed to the Genovese killing and two others. He told cops he had killed Barbara Kralik, 15, on July 20 in Springfield Gardens, Queens, and shot Annie Mae Johnson, 24, of South Ozone Park, Queens, on February 29. Both were savage killings and may have involved sexual assault. Trouble was, another man named Alvin “The Monster” Mitchell, 18, a local gang member, was already in custody for the Kralik killing. He had allegedly also confessed to the teenager’s murder. But Moseley was insistent. He had killed them all, he said.
In the murder of Annie Mae Johnson, Moseley insisted that he shot the victim several times. “I shot her in the stomach. I reloaded and shot her again in the stomach,” he told cops. But the autopsy on Johnson had listed the cause of death as puncture wounds from a sharp object such as a screwdriver or a file. Based on Moseley’s confession, the body was exhumed from a cemetery in Monck’s Corner, South Carolina, and a second autopsy was performed. Using X-ray equipment borrowed from a South Carolina Medical College in Charleston, the coroner found six bullets inside Johnson’s body. Four of these bullets were recovered. “The finding of these bullets adds a lot of credence to Winston Moseley’s other statements,” Queens District Attorney Frank O’Connor told the press.
In the murder of 15-year-old Barbara Kralik, there was blood evidence available, no test yet existed that could compare bodily fluids for conclusive DNA identification. Moseley, however, was able to supply details that conformed to the existing evidence. Cops were satisfied they had the right man. Even his own court-appointed attorney, Sydney G. Sparrow, believed Moseley. “I’m convinced Moseley did all three of these killings,” he told reporters after he met with his client for three hours in the Kings County Psych Ward. “There are too many things he knew that only the killer could know,” he added.
But there was more. Moseley confessed to other attacks during nighttime expeditions in which he would roam the streets searching for victims at random. He said he raped many women, frequently robbing them in the process. Moseley admitted to dozens of burglaries, including the one for which he was arrested when he was caught stealing a television. But it was the sexual assaults that had detectives interested. Particularly the failed attempts of rape which several women reported. Moseley, it seemed, preferred sex with the dead. Dr. Oscar Diamond, a psychiatrist from Manhattan State Hospital, performed a pretrial psychiatric examination of Moseley. “He told me he got no thrill with live women he raped,” he told the court later.
He was found guilty of Genovese’s murder and was sentenced to death. The judge, who did not support the death penalty, said of Moseley; “”I don’t believe in capital punishment, but when I see this monster, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the switch myself!”. The court appeals later changed his sentence stating “Moseley should have been able to argue that he was “medically insane” at the sentencing hearing when the trial court found that he had been legally sane….” I think the appeals court should have been found insane. Life in prison at this time in NY was NOT life in prison. Moseley was and is eligible for parole!
Are you wondering about his behavior after having his sentence reduced? Did he learn a lesson? Did he feel remorse? Did he become a better person? Give up his violent ways?
Well, he beat a guard, committed another rape, came to see himself as a victim and even spouted off about his crimes actually having positive aspects to them ! I wonder if they knew then what they know now would the appeals court have done the same?
In 1968, a year after the appeals court made his death sentence a life sentence Moseley was on his way to a hospital to get (tax payer funded) surgery. He overpowered a guard and proceeded to beat him to the point where the guard’s eyes were bleeding. He then stole guard’s gun.
He then took 5 people hostage. During his 2 day crime spree he also raped a woman while her husband watched .
He surrendered after a half hour-long standoff with a FBI detective. He had held his gun on the agent who had his gun on Moseley during the standoff.
Moseley was also involved in the famous Attica Prison Riot of 1971. In that riot 10 guards and 29 prisoners were killed and many more were injured.
After the riot and at about the time he started to think about the fact that he was going to eventually go up for parole he started to write to the local papers. He blamed his parents for some of his actions. He also said that “The man who killed Kitty Genovese in Queens in 1964 is no more,” and that “Another vastly different individual has emerged, a Winston Moseley intent and determined to do constructive, not destructive things.”
Of course he also said:
“The crime was tragic, but it did serve society, urging it as it did to come to the aid of its members in distress or danger (sic).”
He actually tried to turn the that he blood spilled into some kind of proverbial ‘lemonade’, all the while just ignoring the other murders and rapes! ‘Forgetting’ all the other lives he damaged in so many ways.
(I will say that the murder and rape of Catherine, while not his only rape or murder did point out human flaws hopefully encouraging some to improve themselves. He should not be rewarded for being such a horrible human and for committing a shocking crime, IF somehow something positive came from his brutality it is in no way a reflection onto him.)
He even said a parole hearing: “For a victim outside, it’s a one-time or one-hour or one-minute affair,” Moseley said. “But for the person who’s caught, it’s forever.”
Yes, he tries to place himself into the role of a victim! He seems to think the pain, suffering and torture of those he raped and murdered was a quick and easy experience, kind of like pulling off a band aide. I am damned sure they would not agree.
Vincent, Catherine’s brother heard the comment above and had this to say:
“That was the worst to me, when he said that,” Vincent Genovese, 69, told The News. “That still sticks in my craw.”
I guess his other victims, the family and friends of the people he raped and killed also disagree that it was easy for everyone besides Mr. Moseley.
The tax payers also paid for Mr. Moseley to go to school to earn his B.A. in Sociology, which I am sure he hoped would impress the parole board. It did not impress them enough to let him free. I still do not understand why the tax payers and the families of those he killed as well as those that he raped had to pay to educate him and to amuse him even though he is in prison for life.
Winston Moseley remains in prison after being denied parole thirteen times. His last hearing was on March 11, 2008.
Moseley’s next parole hearing is scheduled for November 2011.