Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Kitty Genovese Murder

Closure?

For the families of murder victims, there is never closure; only a periodic respite from the sorrow that once dominated their lives. It has been 38 years since the murder in Kew Gardens, but in many ways, it is still recent for those who loved Catherine. From time to time, the press still calls on the Genovese family. "I was consulted in a project for the History Channel not long ago," said Bill, the ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran. He lost his legs in combat on a Friday the 13th , the same day that Catherine was killed, but three years later. "See, they're going to do the story anyway, so we may as well cooperate," he said. Vince nodded his head in agreement. "At least we have some measure of control if we cooperate," he said.

Of the 38 witnesses, the family had little to say. "It was shocking, devastating. Awful. Our sister could have been saved," Vince said, "I don't know who they are even. I didn't want to talk to any of them." The witnesses, however, and their failure to take action on the night of March 13, 1964, will never be forgotten. In the past four decades, Catherine's murder has been absorbed into the vast psychological database of human behavioral science, to be studied, analyzed, picked apart in classrooms and written about in college textbooks. But that development intends no disrespect for her death. "Her case came to symbolize the corruption of modern city life, a life in which everyone is too frightened or too selfish to help another person, a life in which the value of humanitarianism has been forgotten," writes Professor Helen Benedict of Columbia University.

Today, Winston Moseley, 67, remains incarcerated at Great Meadows Correction Facility, a maximum-security prison in upstate New York. "It's tough knowing that he still exists in this world," said Vince. Catherine's family has vowed to participate in any court procedures in the future. "We will not let her be the victim again," one brother told the press at a hearing in Federal Court back in 1995. According to the New York State Department of Corrections, Moseley's next scheduled parole hearing is set for January 2004.

"We'll be there," vowed Vince Genovese, studying a photo of his lost sister.

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