Catherine Susan "Kitty" Genovese was a New York City resident who was attacked and stabbed to death outside her apartment building.
Kitty Genovese had been a customer of the dressmaker Walter Kovacs worked for. She had turned down a dress made from a special material.
On the night of March 13, 1964, Genovese was assaulted and stabbed to death outside her apartment building. Her attacker, Winston Moseley, sexually assaulted her as she was dying.
Following her death, The New York Gazette reported on the incident claiming that Genovese's neighbors looked on as she was being assaulted. Kovacs recognized Genovese's name from the news reports as the woman who turned down the dress. Kovacs used the dress Genovese had turned down to fashion a "face that he could look at in the mirror." Genovese's murder was a factor for Kovacs to become Rorsachach, but it certainly wasn't the primary factor in his final transformation into a hardened vigilante.
The incident is recounted by Kovacs to Doctor Malcolm Long, with deep contempt for the residents who lived near the murder site. Kovacs also recounts that some of the neighbors even watched the attack as it happened.
- Two weeks after the murder, The New York Times published an article claiming that 38 witnesses saw or heard the attack, but none of them called the police or came to her aid. However, reporters at a competing news organization discovered in 1964 that the article regarding the incident was inconsistent with the facts, but they were unwilling at the time to challenge New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal. In 2007, an article in the American Psychologist found "no evidence for the presence of 38 witnesses, or that witnesses observed the murder, or that witnesses remained inactive". In 2016, The New York Times called its own reporting "flawed", stating that the original story "grossly exaggerated the number of witnesses and what they had perceived".
- Following the death of Winston Mosely on March 2016, an article from The New York Times stated the following: "While there was no question that the attack occurred, and that some neighbors ignored cries for help, the portrayal of 38 witnesses as fully aware and unresponsive was erroneous. The article grossly exaggerated the number of witnesses and what they had perceived. None saw the attack in its entirety. Only a few had glimpsed parts of it, or recognized the cries for help. Many thought they had heard lovers or drunks quarreling. There were two attacks, not three. And afterward, two people did call the police. A 70-year-old woman ventured out and cradled the dying victim in her arms until they arrived. Ms. Genovese died on the way to a hospital."