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Spectators Applaud Death Sentence for Killer of Kitty Genovese

June 15, 1964 - Applause broke out in a Queens courtroom today after a jury had voted to send Winston Moseley (right) to the electric chair for the murder of Catherine (Kitty) Genovese (left) in Kew Gardens.

The sudden handclapping and a few cheers, mostly from women, in the Queens County Criminal Courthouse, caused Justice J. Irwin Shapiro to pound his desk for order.

After the courtroom had quieted, however, Justice Shapiro told the jurors: “I don’t believe in capital punishment, but I must say I feel this [belief] may be improper when I see this monster. I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the switch on him myself.” Moseley himself showed no emotion.

A court attendant, on the job for more than a quarter of a century, remarked after the applause: “I’ve never seen anything like this — never, not at such a time.”

Jules Lipitz, a lawyer for the defense, requested three weeks before formal sentencing and the filing of motions. Justice Shapiro abruptly denied this, setting June 22 as the date for formal sentencing.

“I know what I’m going to do, and the sooner we get him out of Queens County and into the death house the better,” he said.

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