Bone Valley: 30 Year Fight for Justice

Lily Richard, Arts and Entertainment Editor

A Florida murder case that began in the mid to late 1980s has recently resurfaced and is full of twists and turns. 

To avoid hours of screen time, I’ve taken up listening to podcasts, specifically true crime. I’ve fully listened through three in the past few weeks, but one really stuck with me, Bone Valley. 

One of the most frustrating things about recent true crime is that there’s often more to learn or more to solve and the legal process is not instantaneous. But technically, this isn’t a recent story. This is something that started almost 40 years ago. 

In 1987, 18-year-old Michelle Schofield was found dead after going missing for a few days. At age 21, Leo Schofield was accused, tried, and convicted of his wife’s murder in Lakeland, Florida in the late 80s. He was sentenced to life in prison. 

The entire podcast you are on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next twist in the story. The lack of evidence but the thought of maybe he did it, the rudeness of the legal people involved, how she died, how the timeline might have happened, and how her car got so far away from her body? The questions were endless. 

The amazing thing about podcasts is the people creating them ultimately become a huge part of the case. This isn’t the first true crime I’ve listened to like that. But you might be thinking, what case? This was over 30 years ago, and someone is doing the time for the crime. 

Leo Schofield, an innocent man, has been in jail obtaining degrees, being a model inmate, and teaching classes for over 30 years. 

After blatant neglect of the crime scene, the timeline, his behavior, and disrespect from the Florida legal system, Schofield has been denied parole and another trial. But it gets worse. The person who actually did it has confessed in detail and on the record. 

Jeremy Scott came into the picture 15 years into Schofield’s sentence. Scott is also in prison for life for other crimes. He has a background of murder and a large criminal record. He has confessed not only in the courtroom but to the host of the podcast, Gilbert King, who is now like family to Schofield after working for three years to help unravel the truth about what happened and what is happening in this misjustice to Schofield. 

Scott’s confessions haven’t been deemed credible due to his past and the thought that he might be confessing to get something out of it (despite him knowing things only the killer would know). 

A podcast like this becomes personal, you hear phone calls between King and Schofield, you hear about Schofield’s life and family, confession letters from Scott, and the multiple courtroom appearances by both, trying to right what’s happened. It also feels personal because it’s not a distant old case, in fact, the newest development happened this month, on March 1st. 

After working to defend Schofield, Scott Cupp took up an opportunity to be a judge. After years on the bench and the fight for justice ongoing, Cupp has decided to step down and become Schofield’s attorney and spend all his time trying to get justice right for this case.