Nearly half a century after the Kitty Genovese murder shocked the conscience of New York City and became a national symbol of urban apathy, her killer is coming up for parole for the 15th time. But this year the deal is a bit different for Winston Moseley, her assailant.
For the first time since he became eligible for parole in 1984, Mr. Moseley will appear before a parole board that now is being directed to look beyond his crime and criminal record, and consider if the 76-year-old who committed hideous crimes 47 years ago is the same person seeking freedom.
Nestled into budget legislation this year was a revision of Executive Law §259(c) that requires the parole board to establish and apply “risk and needs principles to measure the rehabilitation of persons appearing before the board” and the likelihood of success should the offender be released. In the past, the board “could” consider those factors; as of today it “must” consider them.
I hope that the same budget cuts that formed this law put aside money for all the criminals that will return to prison once they are pushed out.
Oh, wait. I guess the ones that pushed this figure they will be out of office by that time. ?
Mr. Moseley will be among the first inmates evaluated under the revised system when he meets the parole board the week of Oct. 31. Advocates who have long promoted parole reform are watching the process closely.
Halloween week, how fitting.
“We have always had a list of factors the board was supposed to consider, such as the seriousness of the crime, criminal history and participation in [rehabilitative] programs,” said Philip M. Genty, a professor at Columbia Law School and director of its Prisoners and Families Clinic who has written about the new law for the New York Law Journal (“Changes to Parole Laws Signal Potentially Sweeping Policy Shift,” Sept. 2).
The new law requires the parole board to adopt procedures that incorporate a growing body of social science research about assessing post-release needs and recidivism risks, according to Mr. Genty.
“The devil is in the details and it will depend on what regulations actually get written, but the change both rationalizes and modernizes the parole laws in ways that are long overdue,” said Mr. Genty.
The risk assessment tool is under development and is expected to be in use by November, according to Peter K. Cutler, a spokesman for the new Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, which was created this year through the merger of the prison and parole systems.
Mr. Moseley is hardly a sympathetic figure.
Records indicate that in the early morning hours of March 13, 1964, he was cruising the streets of Queens when he confronted Ms. Genovese, the 28-year-old manager of a Jamaica Avenue sports bar, after she got out of her red Fiat and began walking the 100 feet to her Kew Gardens apartment. Ms. Genovese attempted to escape, but Mr. Moseley caught her and stabbed her in the back twice as she screamed for help.
Mr. Moseley fled briefly, but when no one came to Ms. Genovese’s aid he resumed his hunt, following her trail of blood. He found her collapsed in a hallway, where he raped and robbed her, and then stabbed her another 15 times, including several times in the throat in an effort to silence her, according to the prosecution.
The New York Times, in an account that is disputed but nevertheless bred a legend, reported at the time that more than three dozen New Yorkers heard and ignored Ms. Genovese’s continual pleas for help as Mr. Moseley chased her down and attacked her again and again.
A month earlier, according to the prosecution, Mr. Moseley broke into a home, shot a 24-year-old woman six times and had sex with her dead body. He later explained that he had an “uncontrollable urge to kill” and claimed to have committed at least five rapes and 35 burglaries before his encounter with Ms. Genovese, according to the Queen’s District Attorney’s Office.
He killed a teenage girl and another woman. He likes killing.
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.
Mr. Moseley was sentenced to the death penalty, although the sentence was reduced to 20 years to life.Then, in 1968, while Mr. Moseley was serving time at Attica state prison, he was brought to nearby Buffalo for minor surgery and escaped. He broke into a home in Buffalo, tied up a man and raped his wife.
A little more detail on his escape might warrant mentioning,
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 Attica Prison Riots.
At his most recent parole interview, in 2009, the board cited Mr. Moseley’s “heinous” offense, “total disregard for the life of another human being” and apparent lack of insight into why he killed Ms. Genovese or committed the rape in Buffalo, although he did stress that he sent letters of apology to The New York Times for the Genovese murder and to the Buffalo News for the rape.
The board noted in passing that Mr. Moseley has a good disciplinary record, and made “positive use” of his time in prison by earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology and working as a teacher’s assistant. But the panel, basing its decision on Mr. Moseley’s violent past, concluded that his release would be “incompatible with the welfare and safety of the community.”
At one parole hearing Moseley said:
“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.”
He has 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).”
Yes, he tries to place himself into the role of a victim!
He blames his parents and society for his actions.
Riots, beating guards, escape, assault and rape. Also no remorse, no empathy and a reflection of blame.
Why is he getting a hearing and who the Hell thinks this is a “good disciplinary record”???
JoAnne Page, president and chief executive officer of The Fortune Society, a social services and advocacy group that promotes successful re-entry from prison had this to say.
“People change,” Ms. Page said. “If there is anything I know from my 22 years heading Fortune, it is that people who have been menaces to the community have the capacity to become good neighbors and make a positive difference in the world. And the people who committed the most horrific crimes and served decades [in prison] are beyond the age when people tend to recidivate.”
I say that everyone that is released based on this social reform gets a house in Ms. Page’s neighborhood. She seems to want to welcome them to the outside. Let her have them.
At the age of 76, Mr. Moseley is statistically unlikely to re-offend, but the Queens District Attorney’s Office opposes his release and maintains “there is no question that if Winston Moseley is released he will again commit crimes against society and the citizens of New York.”
In a March letter to Mr. Moseley’s parole officer, Executive Assistant District Attorney Charles A. Testagrossa described the inmate as a “callous, vicious, violent man who is a serial rapist, burglar and multiple murder,” and who has no “compassion or sorrow for his victims and is not capable of living a law-abiding life.”
The letter, written before the change in law, references nothing that occurred since 1971, when Mr. Moseley took part in the Attica prison riot.
@|John Caher can be contacted at email@example.com.
Even if Mosley doesn’t re-offend he is still supposed to be punished.
Prison is not just about reformation, it is about punishment. This man destroyed people and shows no remorse.
Let him rot, I do not care if he is bed ridden, which he isn’t.
Oh, as for his age, a 76 year old serial killer / rapist in good health is a threat. Let’s not discriminate based on age.
In 1977, Moseley wrote a long letter to The Times airing his thoughts on his killings and life in prison. As for the Catherine Genovese murder, he 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).” The Times, apparently seeing something profound in Moseley’s words, saw fit to publish the entire article in its Op Ed section under the alluring title Today I’m a Man Who Wants to Be An Asset on April 11, 1977. The story spanned 4 columns, replete with graphics and Moseley’s own description of a “different” and “constructive” multiple killer. “The man who killed Kitty Genovese in Queens in 1964 is no more,” Moseley wrote, “Another vastly different individual has emerged, a Winston Moseley intent and determined to do constructive, not destructive things.”
Moseley realized he would become eligible for parole and he began a concentrated effort to gain release from prison. He read books from the prison library, and using taxpayer funds, was able to enroll in a college program. In the late 1970s, he became one of the first inmates in New York State to earn a college degree when he received a B.A. in Sociology from Niagara University. He wrote letters to newspapers and continued his campaign to obtain a parole.
During the period 1984 through 1995, Moseley appeared before the state parole board six times. His appearances were marked by his bizarre, self-serving comments to the panel, and he frequently assumed the role of society’s victim. “For a victim outside, it’s a one-time or one hour or one minute affair, but for the person who’s caught, it’s forever,” he said in 1984. “People do kill people when they mug them sometimes,” he added. At one parole hearing, Moseley claimed he had written a letter to the Genovese family “to apologize for the inconvenience I caused.” The Genovese family strongly denied receiving any such communication nor did they wish for one.
In 1995, at the age of 60, Moseley thought he had found a way out of prison. He appealed to a federal court to give him a new trial because he claimed that his attorney, Sidney Sparrow, had a conflict of interest during his trial. Sparrow had once represented Catherine Genovese on a minor gambling charge and, therefore, Moseley surmised, he could not represent him when he was accused of her murder. This time, however, the Genovese family did attend. All three brothers, Vince, Frank and Bill, who lost both legs in 1967 during the Vietnam War, and a sister, Susan, were there. “It was tough to hear it all again,” said Bill recently, “but it was tougher on Vince who testified.” Sparrow, then 82 years old, also attended the hearing and later said that Moseley was a liar “trying to get out of prison anyway he can.” On November 13, 1995, a federal judge denied Moseley’s request for a new trial saying that Sparrow in 1964 “gave Moseley effective, competent and capable counsel under difficult circumstances.” He was returned to prison once again.
Referring to the Genovese killing, Moseley said: “There were worse murders, and more serious or ones that are just as serious but this case, for some reason, is unprecedented in the annals, in perhaps the last 25 years, in the way it’s been publicized. “It does cause, of course, hurt for me,” he said.
Later, after telling a commissioner he “never intended to kill Miss Genovese,” Moseley said, “What happened then would be called mugging. . . . People do kill people when they mug them sometimes.”