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28-Year-Old Barmaid Raped and Murdered in Queens

Mar. 13, 1964 - A 28-year-old woman who had given up a more prosaic life for a career as a barmaid and residence in a tiny Bohemian section of Queens was raped and stabbed to death early this morning.

Catherine (Kitty) Genovese (pictured), 5-1 and 105 pounds, was stabbed eight times in the chest and abdomen and four times in the back. She had three cuts on her hands, probably inflicted as she tried to fight off her attacker near her apartment in an alleyway, at 82-70 Austin St., at Lefferts Blvd., Kew Gardens.

Police of the Richmond Hill precinct said Kitty had had her teenage marriage annulled two months after her wedding and, when her large family moved to Connecticut, she stayed in New York on her own. She worked for an insurance firm but gave that up for a barmaid’s career. In August 1961, her travels with a “fast crowd” contributed to her arrest on a bookmaking rap.

At approximately 2:30 a.m., Genovese left the bar where she worked and began driving home, arriving around 3:15 a.m. She parked her car in a lot about 100 feet from her apartment’s door in an alleyway at the rear of the building at 82-70 Austin St.

As she walked toward the apartment, her assailant approached her with a knife. Genovese ran toward the front of the building, and the attacker ran after her, overtook her, and stabbed her twice in the back.

Genovese screamed, “Oh my God, he stabbed me! Help me!” Several neighbors heard her cry, but only a few recognized the sound as a cry for help. When Robert Mozer, a neighbor, shouted at the attacker — “Let that girl alone!” — her attacker fled.

Genovese slowly made her way toward the rear entrance of the building, seriously injured and out of view of any witnesses. Witnesses saw her attacker enter his car, drive away, and return ten minutes later.

Shadowing his face with a wide-brimmed hat, he searched for and eventually found Genovese, who was barely conscious and lying in a hallway at the back of the building, where a locked door had prevented her from going inside.

Out of view of the street and of those who may have heard or seen any sign of the initial attack, he stabbed Genovese several more times before raping her, stealing $49 from her, and running away again. The two attacks spanned approximately half an hour.

Her neighbor and friend, Mrs. Sophia Farrar, 70, found the victim shortly after the second attack and held her in her arms, whispering “Help is on the way” until an ambulance arrived. Miss Genovese died on the way to the hospital.


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