With ABC’s 20/20: Last Seen in Lakeland investigating the 1987 murder of 18-year-old Michelle Schofield, we get a complete picture of whether or not her husband really is to blame.
Although Leo Schofield has been in prison for murder since 1989, there could be evidence pointing to another man, Jeremy Lynn Scott, who has been a criminal his entire life. But if you just want to know more about his daughter, Ashley Nicole Schofield, who is one of the loudest people fighting for her full freedom, we have the most important facts for you.
What is the name of Ashley Schofield?
Ashley Nicole Schofield is the proud daughter of Leo and his second wife Crissie Carter. They met when Leo volunteered to teach life skills at his prison in 1991 while he was still a parole officer. They became close after she began to believe he was innocent after hearing his story, looking up court records and going over it all herself. They married in 1995. A few years later, they happily took their daughter in with them. Ashley is still a “huge daddy’s girl” despite her father having spent her entire life in prison. She also believes that he is innocent.
When asked about their relationship, Ashley told ABC’s 20/20 that she and her father both like music. “I think that’s why we have a lot in common; It’s the music. We’re very close.” So it’s not surprising that she’s been involved with Leo’s case since she was a teenager. She even stood before the parole board to support him in 2016, but it didn’t help. Ashley said, “I did for them Olympics training. We’re going to the 2020 Olympics together,” but that didn’t happen either. The karate athlete still hoped that Leo would be free soon.
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Where is Ashley Schofield now?
Though years have passed and efforts to clear her father’s name have failed, Ashley still supports him because she is certain he did not kill his first wife, Michelle Schofield. During her visits to prison, Leo has always taught her to be honest, and his rule is, “Tell the truth even if your voice trembles.” That, too, may have played a part in all of this. So of course it hurts Ashley that she can’t just talk to her dad or be with him whenever she wants like most people can, but she’s glad to have him in her life at least somehow.
“You know, sometimes I just want to call him or talk to him… Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom. “But man I wish I had my dad,” Ashley said on “20/20” as she tried not to cry. As for her personal life, it looks like the athlete is no longer just a daughter but also a proud partner and mother. In late 2020, she gave birth to their son, Genesis Arthur. The Fort Myers, Fla. resident is very close to her entire family, and there’s no doubt about that. We wish her all the happiness and peace in the world.
Ashley is the happiest daughter of Leo and his second wife Crissie Carter. She met him in 1991 when he volunteered to teach life skills at his prison. She grew closer to him when she began to believe he was innocent after hearing his story, looking up court records and going through it all for herself. They married in 1995 and their daughter still believes him.
When asked about their relationship, Ashley told ABC’s “20/20.” “I think music is why we have a lot in common. She even went so far as to stand up for him before the parole board in 2016, but was turned down.
What’s up with Ashler Schofield?
Even though years have passed, Ashley still stands by her father because she doesn’t believe she killed his first wife. “Tell the truth even if your voice trembles” is his rule. So of course she’s sad that she can’t just call or visit her father whenever she wants like most people can, but she’s glad to have him in her life at least somehow.
Ashley spoke about it on 20/20 while trying not to cry. As far as we can tell, she is no longer just a daughter, but also a loyal partner and mother. Her social media accounts reveal that she is very close to everyone in her family.
This is a phrase most couples will be familiar with. A sign of being normal and used to something. How many times had Leo Schofield said those words? How many times has the simple plan worked well? Many people reading this will be able to imagine what usually happens next: you could order Chinese food, a burger or a pizza to go and watch TV at home. Normal.
Leo Schofield expected it when he said those words to his wife, Michelle. Little did he know that those were some of the last words he would say to her, or that what should have been a normal Tuesday night was about to turn into a nightmare.
Leo was practicing with his band at his friend Buddy Anderson’s house on February 24, 1987 at 9:45 p.m. When Michelle called him 90 minutes into her shift at Tom’s Restaurant, a local burger joint, he told her to pick him up at his friend Vince Rahner’s house down the street.
He walked over to Vince’s house and waited for Michelle there. When midnight struck, Leo called his father because he was worried about his wife. Leo Schofield, Sr. picked up his son and the two followed Michelle’s path backwards. They looked inside Leo and Michelle’s trailer but didn’t go in because they couldn’t see their car. Instead, they kept looking. After driving around for a while, Leo called local hospitals, police stations, and the sheriff’s office to see if he could find Michelle. Nothing.
Leo and his father went back to his parents’ house and called the police again. His mother took him back out and they walked back along the same streets, stopping again at Leo’s trailer. This time he went inside, turned on the light and wrote Michelle a note telling her to stay. He did this because he thought they somehow missed each other.
He and his mother continued to search and stopped at 2:20 a.m. at the home of Michelle’s father, David Saum. Leo woke Saum by knocking on his window and asked him if he had seen Michelle. He had seen Michelle earlier in the day but hadn’t since.
Leo and his mother were leaving David Saum’s home when they saw two sheriff’s cars parked at a nearby gas station. Leo asked them if they had seen Michelle and told them more about the car she was driving.
After his mother’s search turned up nothing, Leo went back to Buddy Anderson’s house at around 4:30 am. His friend told him to try to sleep and Leo did.
In the morning, he met the Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy at his trailer and gave him a description and picture of Michelle for the missing persons report. Leo and his father spent the rest of the day printing and distributing flyers with information about Michelle’s disappearance, hoping someone had seen them.
On Thursday, February 26, 1987, a friend called the Schofields to say that he had seen Michelle’s car at exit 44 off Interstate 4. The Schofields and the sheriff’s deputy met at the car at 11:30 p.m. that evening. They found the back door wasn’t locked, the rear speakers were gone, and hair was stuck in the back wall. The Schofields and police searched the area, and Leo’s father found her body around 1:30 p.m. Friday. She was stabbed 26 times and then thrown into a sewer.
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Leo Schofield was caught on June 24, 1988 and charged with killing Michelle
“I could not believe it. Nothing in my past had prepared me for the eyesore that was immediately put on my reputation when I was accused of killing the girl I loved. – Leo Schofield
Investigators said Leo’s trailer was the scene, although there was a lot of blood, tire marks and footprints around the canal where Michelle’s body was found. Prosecutors said Leo and Michelle returned to their home around 1:30 a.m. where Leo stabbed Michelle 26 times, carried her body to the car they shared, and dumped her body in a sewer.
Unlike the canal crime scene, there was no blood in Leo’s trailer. Instead, there was a small half-dollar-sized smudge of some unknown liquid. The doctor who performed the autopsy said Michelle lost five liters of blood. Leo’s clothes from that night were brought as evidence and, like the trailer, it was determined they had no blood on them.
This was just one of many things that failed to materialize in prosecutor John Agüero’s case:
Although Leo spoke to many witnesses on the night Michelle went missing, the prosecution’s case was based on the testimony of Alice Scott, who said she found Leo and Michelle the night Michelle went missing at around 1 a.m :30 p.m. Go to the caravan. Alice said she heard arguing and arguing coming from the trailer. Then, at 2:30 a.m., Leo left with something wrapped that was “the size of a child” and thrown in the back seat of the couple’s Mazda.
David Saum, Michelle’s father, said Leo was with him at 2:30 a.m., which contradicts what Alice Scott has said. At 2:45 a.m., Leo was at the gas station talking to the sheriff’s deputies.
Timeline difference aside, Alice Scott had a history of mental health issues, and her family had sent her to a mental hospital against her will. She also lied about how far the Schofields’ trailer was from the bathroom window, where she said she saw what happened that night.
There were also three unsolved murders in the area where women had been stabbed. Polk Sheriff Detective Richard Putnel testified that he was unaware of these cases.
To make matters worse for prosecutors, the car contained a set of fingerprints that neither Leo nor Michelle had.
Prosecutor John Aguero, himself accused of domestic violence, had no evidence. To make amends, he brought in a long line of witnesses to speak out about the Schofields’ sometimes rocky marriage. These witnesses spoke about times when the couple got into arguments and portrayed Leo as a violent and unpredictable person.
Witnesses said there was trouble at home, with occasional hair pulling, slapping and screeching of matches.
Leo’s defense attorney Jack Edmund wasn’t ready and didn’t disagree with this image. This led Aguero to lead witnesses to exaggeration and conjecture.
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