Chocolate Candy Murders & the Wrongful Conviction of Scott Hornoff

Mar 04, 11:30 AM
Brandi starts us off with a wrongful conviction story unlike any we’ve ever covered. When Scott Hornoff was put on trial for the murder of Victoria Cushman, he had every conceivable advantage. The prosecution didn’t rely on junk science. There were no faulty eye witnesses. He had good legal representation. He was a police officer. He is white. But that didn’t stop the jury from finding against him. 

Then Kristin tells us about the infamous chocolate candy murders. Back in the late 1800’s, a married woman named Cordelia Botkin met a married man named John Preston Dunning. Cordelia was immediately smitten. John was hot, smart, a great writer, and an all-around good time. The two immediately struck up an affair. After a few years, John broke the news that he was leaving Cordelia. He wanted to go back to his candy-loving wife. Cordelia decided to stop him.

And now for a note about our process. For each episode, Kristin reads a bunch of articles, then spits them back out in her very limited vocabulary. Brandi copies and pastes from the best sources on the web. And sometimes Wikipedia. (No shade, Wikipedia. We love you.) We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the real experts who covered these cases.

In this episode, Kristin pulled from:
“The heinous crimes of Cordelia Botkin,” by Heather Monroe on
“Murder by mail: The story of San Francisco’s most infamous female prisoner,” by Katie Dowd for the San Francisco Chronicle
“Candy from a stranger: The Cordelia Botkin Case of 1898,” by Thomas Duke in 1910, posted on
“Cordelia Botkin” entry on Wikipedia
“Mrs. Cordelia Botkin pleads with her judges for her life,” Dec. 23, 1898, The San Francisco Call

In this episode, Brandi pulled from:
“Tangled Up in Blue: The Scott Hornoff Story” by Seamus McGraw, The Crime Library
“Jeffrey Scott Hornoff’s Murder Conviction Is Exposed As A Sham When The Real Killer Confesses” by Hans Sherrer, Justice Denied
“Killer's confession frees convicted man” by The Associated Press
“State v. Hornoff”