Michelle Saum Schofield’s February 1987 murder is one of the most bizarre cases ever to be revealed. It goes far beyond the atrocious crime. After all, as profiled on ABC’s ’20/20: Last Seen In Lakeland,’ her husband Leo Schofield has since been convicted, yet there is possible evidence that somebody else entirely might be involved. So now, if you wish to learn more about the former — especially his supposed hand in the matter, his legal penalties, as well as his current standing — we’ve got the necessary details for you.
Who is Leo Schofield?”
In 1986, high school dropouts Leo (20 and Michelle (17) met for the first time. They quickly fell in love with each other and couldn’t stay apart. They thus moved in together just a short while later and then ended up tying the knot once their Southside Assembly of God Church paid for the whole wedding to help them “quit living in sin.” However, everything came to a sudden end around six months into their (already tumultuous) marriage because Michelle was murdered in one of the worst ways imaginable; stabbed 26 times.
Leo, who reported Michelle missing, was quickly under suspicion due to the stories of their neighbors, family members, and friends indicating an abusive relationship that involved fights at every turn. While some witnesses reported numerous verbal exploits, others claimed he was not just physical but had also gone as far as to threaten his wife’s life at one point in time. Therefore, when a neighbor claimed she’d heard the couple get into an argument on that fateful night, only to later see Leo leave upon shoving a large object into his trunk, the doubts increased multifold.
The fact the Schofield trailer home was reportedly identified as the crime scene despite there being a lot of blood/evidence at the spot where Michelle was found did not help Leo’s case either. And while there were serious discrepancies in the neighbor’s account, the 20 other character witnesses to testify on his violent tendencies also made the prosecutors’ side undeniably stronger. Leo was actually arrested and charged with murder in June 1988 — he was found guilty of the same following two hours of jury deliberation in 1989, meaning he was just 21 at the time. It’s imperative to note there was no physical evidence against him.
Where is Leo Schofield today?
Leo was sentenced for life in prison after being convicted. He has spent the last 30+ years locked up in a state facility. However, he has not wavered from his innocence claims. That’s evident through his several appeal filings over the years, especially after Jeremy Lynn Scott got tied to the matter through a fingerprint and then confessed (he later recanted), but to no avail. “Innocent is no part in it, no plan in it, didn’t know it was happening, didn’t know it was going to happen, and didn’t want it to happen,” Leo told ABC’s ’20/20′ recently. “That is me.”
It is worth mentioning that, while the ex-aspiring band member admitted to hitting his wife Michelle twice in court, he claimed he wasn’t physically violent during the episode. “Physical abuse is one type of abuse and then you have the emotional abuse, which I’m guilty of,” he admitted. “I did a lotta yelling…and I wasn’t beyond punching a wall and being very theatrical,”
Leo Robert Schofield Jr. (57) is currently held at the mixed-security Hardee Correctional Institution of Bowling Green. Although he will be eligible for parole in 2013, he, his second-wife Crissie, as well as The Innocence Project of Florida, continue to fight for his release. They want to clear his name and bring Michelle what they believe is justice.
Read More: Where is Leo Schofield’s Daughter Now?