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Hearing set in effort by Leo Schofield to win new trial for 30-year-old murder

BARTOW — A status hearing is scheduled Monday in an attempt to win a new trial for 51-year-old Leo Schofield, found guilty nearly 30 years ago in the stabbing death of his 18-year-old wife Michelle Saum Schofield.

Court records show the case has been reopened a dozen times since Schofield was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1988. Schofield maintains his innocence and advocates from the Innocence Project have taken up his case.

Most recently, during a two-day hearing in October, Schofield's attorneys put another inmate on the stand and he confessed to committing the crime — then recanted his confession under cross examination.

On the night of Feb. 24, 1987, 18-year-old Michelle Saum Schofield was leaving work from a burger drive-in in her orange Mazda. Two days later, the car was found on the side of Interstate 4 in Lakeland. Her body was discovered three days later in a canal 7 miles away, stabbed 26 times.