Independent Lens investigates Kitty Genovese murder

Kitty Genovese murder
Kitty Genovese was murdered in 1964 and despite numerous witnesses, nobody called the police

This episode of Independent Lens looks at the shocking murder of Kitty Genovese, who was stabbed to death in Queens, New York City, whilst over 30 people watched and did nothing – or so it was reported at the time.

The story in the newspaper was that 38 different people witnessed the murder of Kitty but not one of them called the police or tried to help. Indeed the murder was able to return twice and stab her again, finally killing the 28-year-old.

However, now her brother Bill examines the 1964 murder and his findings indicate that the version reported in the New York Times does not stand up to detailed investigation.

YouTube video player

The case is especially important because the lack of aid given to Kitty helped influence psychological studies and led to the idea of the Bystander Effect.

It also partly inspired some of the Good Samaritan laws, passed to encourage members of the public to help each other.

Most personally of all his sisters death led to Bill volunteering to fight in Vietnam, where he lost both his legs.

Now he takes a closer and very personal look at the murder of his sister Kitty.

Watch Independent Lens – The Witness at 10 PM on PBS.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments