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СИНДРОМ ДЖЕНОВЕЗЕ (GENOVESE SYNDROME)

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GENOVESE SYNDROME

On March 13, 1964, 29-year-old Catherine Susan Genovese was killed in the Queens neighborhood of New York City near her home. The girl was stabbed several times and raped. The Times newspaper wrote that the murder, which lasted at least half an hour, was watched by 38 witnesses, none of whom called the police, although Kitty called for help. This article caused a great public outcry and the indifference of eyewitnesses, the crime was later given the names «Witness Effect», «Genovese syndrome» and «Outsider effect» («bystander effect»), which were included in textbooks on social psychology.

But in fact, it wasn’t quite like that. On the evening of March 13, 1964, in the Queens neighborhood of New York City, 29-year-old Catherine Susan Genovese arrived home and parked her car. At this time, Winston Moseley approached her, who stabbed the girl twice in the back. Kitty screamed. Her screams were heard by several neighbors. When one of them shouted out the window «Leave the girl alone!», Moseley ran away, and Kitty slowly wandered to her house. Several people called the police, but their reports did not carry clear information, so the patrol was not sent to the scene.

Moseley, seeing that there were no police, returned and found Genovese lying in an alley at the back of the building. He attacked her again, stabbed her several more times, raped her and took away $49. Then he left, leaving Kitty to die. Later, the police found that at least a dozen (but not 38, as reported in the sensational publication of the Times) witnesses had seen certain episodes of the attack. One of them, Carl Ross, called the police. Others decided that the screams were the result of a quarrel between acquaintances or drunks.

Winston Moseley was figured out pretty quickly. He said that leaving his sleeping wife at home, he went out into the streets that evening in search of a victim. He was stalking a woman to kill. Winston confessed not only to this, but also to two other murders involving sexual violence. Psychiatric examination established that Moseley was a necrophile. The first court sentenced him to death. However, on June 1, 1967, the New York Court of Appeals revised the sentence and replaced it with a 20-year sentence.

However, he was never released, although he repeatedly filed petitions about it, and in one of them he wrote: «For the victim, what happened is a one-time case, a matter of a minute or half an hour, while for a caught criminal it is forever.»

The fact that Winston has no place in the wild became obvious a year later, after the appeals court spared him from the death penalty. In 1968, Moseley deliberately poisoned himself with sour soup so that he could be taken to the hospital. And on the way to the hospital in Buffalo, New York, Winston first brutally beat the guard, even his eyes bled. Moseley then took five hostages, one of whom he raped. Only two days later, the police managed to neutralize the violent convict and free the hostages.

The public outcry caused by Kitty’s death, to which the police did not come to the rescue, which allowed the maniac to finish her off, led to the reform of the system for receiving telephone messages about crimes. However, ten years later, a very similar situation occurred in almost the same place. 25-year-old Sandra Zahler screamed when she was beaten, her screams were heard by many, but no one came to help. And Sandra was beaten to death.

Oleg Loginov

For more information, see the article in Russian «Witness Syndrome»

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