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Accused Killer of Kitty Genovese Offers Testimony

June 10, 1964 - Winston Moseley (pictured in March) described to a court and jury today the details of three killings to which he has confessed, but for one of which another man will go on trial Monday.

Mosely is being tried in the Queens County Supreme Court for the fatal stabbing of Catherine (Kitty) Genovese in Kew Gardens on March 13. Since the defense has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, it has adopted the strategy of letting Moseley confess to whatever crimes he wishes to claim as his.

The 29-year-old defendant testified with bland assurance that he had stabbed Barbara Kralik, 15, last July 20 and had shot Mrs. Annie Mae Johnson on Feb. 29. He has already admitted the slaying of Miss Genovese, and he gave more information on that too.

The Kralik case has puzzled the police for months because Alvin L. Mitchell, 18, also is said to have confessed to it and will stand trial next week. Moseley has been arraigned but not indicted in the death of Mrs. Johnson, who was thought to have been stabbed until he insisted she was shot. A subsequent examination proved that Moseley was right.

Moseley’s account of Miss Genovese’s murder was dispassionate. As he described his departure from home in the South Ozone Park section of Queens at about 2 a.m. to cruise in search of a victim, it appeared that killing was his prime objective, rape and robbery incidental.

“How long did you drive before you found a woman who fitted your requirements to kill?” asked Justice J. Irwin Shapiro.

“About an hour and a half.”

“And all that time you were thinking of killing?”

“Yes, sir,” Moseley told the court.

Murder, the defendant said to Assistant D.A. Frank Caciatore, “was an idea that came into my mind just as an idea might come into your mind, but I couldn’t put mine aside. When I got such a thought, it remained with me regardless of what else I might be thinking.”

He testified to stabbing Miss Genovese twice in the back on Austin Street, Kew Gardens. Then he left the scene as lights were switched on in apartments across the street and a man shouted at him. Moseley moved his car, changed his stocking cap for a hat and returned. Sidney Sparrow, his lawyer, asked him why he had left and come back.

“I realized the car was parked where people could see it and me, so I moved it some distance away,” Moseley explained.

He put on different headgear for the same reason, he said, to escape detection. “I came back because I knew I’d not finished what I set out to do,” the defendant added.

“In other words, you wanted to finish the job,” interjected the court, and Moseley nodded. He inflicted the final stabbing wounds in a vestibule at 82-62 Austin Street.

Psychiatrists disagreed on the question of mental responsibility for these acts.

Dr. Oscar Diamond, testifying for the defense, described Moseley as a schizophrenic with catatonic reactions beyond his control. The defendant was incapable of stopping himself once he got the urge to kill and thus was unable to distinguish right from wrong, Dr. Diamond concluded.

Dr. Frank Cassino said in rebuttal that he believed Moseley was well aware of the wrongdoing of his deeds.

“He showed good logic, judgment, and intelligence in carrying out his plans,” Dr. Cassino concluded. “He had a very considerable capacity to reason.”

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