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Tue January 7, 2003
Hornoff Off The Hook
By Mark Degon
Warwick – A former Warwick police detective who spent more than six years in prison is now recognized as an innocent man. A judge Monday vacated the conviction of Jeffrey Scott Hornoff for the 1989 murder of Victoria Cushman and dismissed the charges against him. That's because another man pleaded guilty to the crime and is now serving a thirty year prison sentence.
Only days after pleading not guilty to second degree murder, Todd Barry returned to court to plead guilty as part of a deal with state prosecutors.
Over thirteen years ago, I did a horrible thing. I killed a fellow human being, Vicky Cushman, Barry said in court.
The state says at trial it would have presented written and videotaped confessions from Todd Barry that match other physical evidence in the case. According to Barry's confession, he had an on and off relationship with Victoria Cushman. After the relationship ended, he bumped into her in 1989, learned where she was living and that she was then dating a married police officer. Prosecutors say Barry told authorities he drank excessively in two Providence bars that night and smoked marijuana.
Instead of going home, Barry went to cushman's apartment. He broke in through a window screen and woke her up. At first the two talked about her relationship with Scott Hornoff. But Barry told authorities he was overcome by an uncontrollable rage and killed Cushman. Eventually Scott Hornoff was convicted of the crime and sentanced to life in prison.
I express my heartfelt remorse and sorrow to the Cushman family. I also wish to express my sincere regret to Scott Hornoff for his years of incarceration, said Barry.
Attorneys say they began negotiations over a plea bargain soon after Barry's confession. That deal spares the family of Victoria Cushman a second trial about her murder. While the family did not object to the deal, Cushman's sister asked the judge to give Barry the longest sentence possible.
Thirteen years ago, our family was plunged into an emotional hell from which we have yet to emerge. There are no words that can begin to describe the shock and horror that we experienced on August 11, 1989 said Jennifer Boghossian.
Judge Netti Vogel agreed to the sentence recommended by prosecutors as part of the plea bargain a 45 year sentence, 30-years to be served in prison.
As for Scott Hornoff, he says he is glad to put his conviction and years in prison behind him. But he was not celebrating yesterday.
It's just a lot of mixed emotions. It's happy for my family. But it was a said day for the Barrys and Cushmans. So, it's hard to be happy, said Hornoff. He did not discuss his future plans.