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Jeffrey Scott Hornoff

Other Rhode Island Exonerations
In August 1989, Victoria Cushman was bludgeoned to death in her apartment in Warwick, Rhode Island.  Her body was found by her employer after she failed to show up for work the next morning. 
 
Jeffrey Hornoff, a Warwick police officer, was an early suspect because of his relationship with Cushman.  Though Hornoff initially declined to say whether or not he was having an affair with Cushman, he later admitted that they had had two intimate encounters.  Hornoff said he was with his wife and friends at a party on the night of the murder, an alibi that she and friends confirmed. 
 
Hornoff was not arrested until 1994, after political pressure led the Rhode Island Attorney General to transfer the case to state police.  No physical evidence linked Hornoff to the murder and no witnesses place him at the crime scene. 
 
Following a six-week trial, Hornoff was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder in June 1996 and sentenced to life in prison. 
 
Following his conviction, Hornoff pursued several appeals and motions for a new trial, all of which were denied.  In 2001, he requested DNA testing of the evidence found at the crime scene. 
 
A window screen and rubber dishwashing gloves were examined, but results were inconclusive. A stained bandage, visible in crime scene photos between the gloves, was unavailable for testing. It was unknown whether it was never preserved as evidence, lost or destroyed.

In November 2002, another Warwick, Rhode Island man, Todd Barry, who had been an on-again off-again boyfriend to Cushman, confessed to committing the murder and Hornoff was released. 
 
In January 2003, after Barry pled guilty to second-degree murder, the prosecution joined Hornoff’s attorney’s motion to vacate the conviction and dismiss the charges, which was granted by the trial court.
 
In 2006, the city of Warwick agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by Hornoff for $600,000 in back pay and a $47,000 annual disability pension. However, of the back pay, Hornoff's attorneys received $232,000 and his wife received the remainder.
 
- Stephanie Denzel

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 11/29/2018
State:Rhode Island
County:Kent
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1989
Convicted:1996
Exonerated:2003
Sentence:Life
Race:White
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:26
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No