Sun January 12, 2003
Hornoff Speaks Out
By Kelly McEvers
Warwick – After more than six years in prison former Warwick police officer Scott Hornoff says he has no bitterness. On Wednesday he scolded police, prosecutors, and media for lack of vigilance in his case. In particular he pointed to the police officers who investigated him. He wondered aloud if the two men who investigated him were promoted for his conviction.
"If so, I call on their colonel to at least demote them both to patrolmen for their misconduct, but I know that will never happen. The state police never admit to their many mistakes. Perhaps, that's one of the reasons they are not well liked or respected by the real cops who work in the cities and towns of Rhode Island," said Hornoff.
Victoria Cushman was found murdered in 1989. Hornoff was an early suspect because of a love letter to him that police found in Cushman's apartment. Hornoff was not officially accused of the crime until five years later. The case was then sent to state police.
"I stand by the investigation. We got the case, when it was three years old. The investigators interviewed somewhere in the area of one hundred people. The case is thirteen years old," said State Police Major John Leyden.
Hornoff admits he initially lied when confronted about an affair with Cushman. He says he was trying to protect his wife and soon owned up to that lie. That lie and other inconcistancies led to his conviction, despite a lack of any physical evidence linking him to the murder scene.
"State police interviewed Scott Hornoff three years after the initial incident. The grand jury testimony was given five years after the initial incident. How good is your memory on specific facts three and five years after the fact?" asked Hornoff's attorney, Joel Chase.
Hornoff says he does not want to dwell on the past and watns to look to future. He says he might want to return to a career in law enforcement. He says he also wants to help an inmate who he believes was wrongfully convicted. He may also become a spokesman against wrongful convictions and poor prison conditions. He describes his time in prison as long and difficult and says there's no surprise there are so many repeat offenders.
"Bad people are being made worse, and good people are being made bitter and resentful. There's no surprise that they keep going back. Yet, it's a big business and it's relied upon that they do keep going back," said Hornoff.
Whatever his future, Hornoff also wants to put his private life back together. One of his three sons was born, while he was in prison. Hornoff says he is considering legal options to recoup his losses. His lawyer says no particular legal action has been discussed.