When watching “The Witness,” I was shocked to learn that Kitty Genovese’s murderer, Winston Moseley, had a larger reign of terror than just her senseless stabbing. In the film, they gloss over the other horrible things Moseley did because the focus of the story is Kitty. But when I heard he managed to escape prison and attack more people, I had to know more.
At the time “The Witness” was filmed, Moseley was still alive but declined to even meet Kitty Genovese’s brother, Bill. He passed away at the age of 81 in March 2016 as one of the longest serving inmates in New York’s prison system.
“Mr. Moseley, a psychopathic serial killer and necrophiliac, died at the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., near the Canadian border. He had been imprisoned for almost 52 years, since July 7, 1964, and was one of the state’s longest-serving inmates.
His life behind bars had been relatively eventful. Mr. Moseley was condemned to die in the electric chair, but in 1967, two years after New York State abolished most capital punishments, he won an appeal that reduced his sentence to an indeterminate life term. While at Attica Correctional Facility, in 1968, he escaped while on a hospital visit to Buffalo, raped a woman and held hostages at gunpoint before being recaptured. He joined in the 1971 Attica uprising; earned a college degree in 1977; and was rejected 18 times at parole hearings, the last time in 2015.”
Quite an impressive resume for a disgusting killer. At his trial, Moseley “initially pleaded not guilty, but his attorney later changed Moseley’s plea to not guilty by reason of insanity… Moseley’s attorney called him to testify in hopes that Moseley’s testimony would convince the jury that he was “a schizophrenic personality and legally insane.””
In “The Witness,” it is also mentioned that while behind bars, Moseley completed a bachelor’s degree in sociology. In 1977, he published an Op-Ed in The New York Times expressing regret, agony and “perpetual torment.” He ended his Op-Ed with this statement:
“The man who killed Kitty Genovese in Queens in 1964 is no more. He was also destroyed in that calamity and its aftermath. Another vastly different individual has emerged, a Winston Moseley intent and determined to do constructive, not destructive things.
Today I’m a man who wants to be an asset to society, not a liability to it.”
At the time he murdered Kitty Genovese, Moseley was a married father of two and had no official criminal record. But when he was arrested for Kitty’s murder (mid-burglary, no less), he also confessed to two other murders: Annie Mae Johnson and Barbara Kralik. He had sexually assaulted both women as well.
Annie Mae Johnson was a 24-year-old housewife whom Moseley shot, then burned to death in her home in February 1964, a few weeks before he killed Genovese. Barbara Kralik was 15 years old. Moseley stabbed her in her parents’ Springfield Gardens home in July 1963. Despite knowing intimate details of the murders that were unknown to the public, he wasn’t tried for either one.
Even when he was imprisoned, Moseley wasn’t done. In March 1968, Moseley was transported from prison to a hospital in Buffalo, New York to be treated for a self-inflicted injury. He attacked the correction officer who was taking him back to prison, stole his gun and escaped. He hid in an empty house for three days until the daughter of the owner and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Kulaga, came to check on the house. Moseley held them hostage for an hour and raped Mrs. Kulaga before fleeing the scene in their car. Mrs. Kulaga reported giving Moseley her “car keys, registration and a picture of her children” and was terrified he would go their permanent residence and kill their children.
Moseley bound and gagged the husband and raped the wife, but the Kulagas said despite being brutal, Moseley was also kind. When Mr. Kulaga requested a strand of rosary beads be placed in his hands, Moseley obliged. I don’t know why you would ever use the word “kind” to describe someone who raped your wife, but to each his own.
After leaving the Kulagas, Moseley broke into another house and took a woman and her daughter hostage for two hours. They were released unharmed. No one died at his hands during his escape stint. He was recaptured by the FBI and received two 15-year sentences that would run concurrently with his life sentence from killing Kitty Genovese.
Even after all that, at his parole hearing in 1984, Moseley claimed he didn’t mean to murder Kitty and considered her murder nothing more than a mugging. He also decided to play the victim and told the parole board that his notoriety made him a lifelong victim, which in his mind was somehow worse than the “one-minute affair” Kitty Genovese and other victims suffered.
Even though that sounds like a perfectly legitimate argument (NOT), he was not granted parole. He was also not granted parole at subsequent hearings.
Good riddance, Winston Moseley. You were one creepy dude.