November 13, 1945
Roscoe (renamed to Sun Valley in 1950), Los Angeles, California
The body of Florence Honeycutt (38) is examined the day after she was murdered by her husband
Warning: article contains graphic images
Florence and her husband John met in August 1944, married shortly after, and moved to San Francisco. In August of 1945, Florence’s stepfather brought her back to live with him and Florence’s mother, and she went to work as a waitress in the stepfather’s restaurant. John visited Florence at the restaurant on at least 2 occasions, becoming a nuisance and having police called upon him.
On November 12, at around 9:30 in the morning, John began drinking heavily. Around 6 pm, he visited Florence at her stepfather’s house. The two talked in normal tones, she gave him around $6-$7, and he left. John went to a bar, consumed “10 to 15 beers” and most of a bottle of wine, and returned to Florence’s home around 7 pm.
Florence’s stepfather refused to let the man in to which John replied “I am coming in. … You fat-bellied son of a bitch, if you don’t come outside … I am coming in. … I will kill you.” A struggle ensued with John trying to enter the home after throwing a plant jar through the window and the stepfather swinging a meat tenderizer at John. Eventually, John kicked the 62-year-old crippled man in the stomach and made his way in the home. The older man tried to prevent the younger from entering, but John’s violent kicking eventually made the stepfather let go. As John went to find Florence, the stepfather ran to a neighbor to phone the police.
John found Florence and the two talked briefly, with the mother overhearing Florence ask “Johnny, what did you do such a terrible thing for?” but was unable to hear his reply. John then grabbed Florence by the wrist, prompting her to cry out that he was hurting her. He led her to a door attached to the kitchen and paused briefly, then struck her with his bottle of wine he hadn’t quite finished. The blow caused her to stagger and fall to the floor, and John began choking her and jumped on her with both feet 7 or 8 times on her head and body. Florence’s mother tried to attack John, pulling at his hair and scratching his face. He threatened to kill the mother as well if she did not leave him alone. She became terrified and fled.
John grabbed a meat grinder from the kitchen and beat Florence’s head with it. (She was likely already dead by this point.) He beat her so hard the handle of the grinder broke, and 3 of her teeth were knocked out. He then grabbed a butcher knife from the kitchen and “cut her throat five times, ripped open her clothes, twice cut her from the pubic symphysis to the lower border of the breasts, pulled out her intestines, and cut each of her thighs.”
Police arrived around 7:25 pm and found John trying to wash the blood from the meat grinder. He confessed to the murder and originally stated he’d take his motive to the grave, but later claimed he murdered his wife because she “had been intimate with” her stepfather. He was tried and convicted of the murder, and executed on February 7, 1947 at the age of 33.