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Remembering Kitty Genovese

Kitty was the most wonderful person I've ever met. I still remember her face. I can see it in my mind: very Italian looking, very chiseled features, dark hair, like only about five feet tall. And very likeable person, very vibrant, where I'm very quiet, so we were complimentary.

I think we met in a bar downtown, and she says, "Well, I'd like to see you again." So I says, "Well, I don't have a phone." I lived in a rooming house. I came home that night from work, and I found the note on the rooming house door. She found where I lived, and called me at the pay phone that night. So we were together for a year after that. One year. One year exactly, to the day.

Being a gay woman in that society was very hard, so we were in the closet a lot. In fact, her family didn't know. I mean, they know now, but there was denial there. It was very hard then.

I remember I went bowling with a friend of ours and I came home. I was tired that night. It was probably 11:30. I went to bed. And the next thing I remember is the police knocking on the door at 4 o'clock in the morning. So they took me to the emergency room, said, "You have to identify her." So I did -- standard identifying a person with the white sheet. And I went outside and sat on the bench. They said, “We're going to take you home,” and I said, "I'm going to wait for her."

Sorry, I'm going to start crying here, but this gets rough...

So I just went home and I started drinking, because I couldn't deal with this. And I drank for about six months, and I realized this is -- what am I doing with my life? So I stopped drinking. I got an apartment, and I went back to school. So, I mean, I know about loss.

I still have a lot of anger toward people because they could have saved her life. I mean, all those steps along the way when he attacked her three times. And then he sexually assaulted her too, when she was dying. I mean, you look out the window and you see this happening and you don't help. That's -- how do you live with yourself, knowing you didn't do anything? That's the biggest lesson to be learned from this: really love each other. We have to on this planet.


Producer: Matthew Ozug / Executive Producer: David Isay / Production Assistant: Jessica Ticktin / Funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts.

"Remembering Kitty Genovese" premiered March 13, 2004, on Weekend Edition Saturday. Copyright © 2004 Sound Portraits Productions. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Photo of Mary Ann Mary Ann Zielonko (JPEG, 17 KB)

CourtTV's Crime Library entry on Kitty Genovese

Excerpts from Winston Mosleley confession

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Thirty-Eight Witnesses, A. M. Rosenthal's book about the murder

The Screams of Kitty Genovese, the musical



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