Podcast Subject Who Denies Killing Wife Granted Parole

Leo Schofield Jr. of the 'Bone Valley' podcast to be released into Florida halfway house April 30
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2024 9:26 AM CDT

The subject of a true-crime podcast who's maintained innocence in the killing of his wife while serving 35 years of a life sentence for the crime will soon walk free. Florida's Leo Schofield Jr., subject of the popular 2022-23 Bone Valley podcast, was granted parole on his fifth attempt Wednesday, reports the New York Times. He's to be released from a corrections transfer program at the Everglades Re-Entry Center in Miami on April 30, the same week he'll celebrate his 29th wedding anniversary with his second wife. "It's hard for us to find the right words for the emotions we're feeling, but gratitude, of course, is a big one—and relief," wife Crissie Schofield, who met her husband while he was an inmate, said Wednesday, per the Times. "It's a surreal feeling."

Schofield had been married to his first wife, 18-year-old Michelle Schofield, for just six months when she was discovered stabbed to death in a drainage canal in Lakeland, Florida, on Feb. 27, 1987. There was no physical evidence connecting her husband to the crime. He reported his wife missing and claimed he was looking for her at the time authorities believe she was killed, per LkldNow. But he was convicted after prosecutors claimed he was abusive and a neighbor claimed to have seen him removing a large object, possibly a body, from his home. In 2004, police matched fingerprints found inside his wife's car, where the stereo had been stolen, to a man serving a life sentence for robbing and killing a man. Jeremy Scott went on to repeatedly confess to killing Michelle Schofield, including to Bone Valley. Still, Schofield was denied a new trial.

Assistant state attorney Jacob Orr criticized the podcast—now expected to become a scripted TV series, per Deadline—for omitting key facts of the case during Wednesday's hearing before a parole board in Tallahassee. Corrections officers, former inmates, and relatives testified in support of Schofield's release, which the parole board unanimously granted one year after approving Schofield's release from Hardee Correctional Institution to a corrections transfer program. On April 30, he'll move to a halfway house under conditions, including payment of undetermined restitution; anger, mental health, and substance abuse evaluations; and 18 months of curfew restrictions. He must also not have contact with Michelle Schofield's family, who did not speak at Wednesday's hearing. (More parole stories.)

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