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Florida Judge Scott Cupp leaves the bench to fight for the freedom of man convicted of murder

Former Florida Judge Scott Cupp was a natural skeptic. So when he heard back in 2002 that a man convicted of killing his wife 13 years earlier was still proclaiming his innocence, he wasn’t buying it. He told one interviewer: “If that guy’s innocent, I’m the Queen of Sheba.”

“That guy” is Leo Schofield, newly married to 18-year-old Michelle Schofield when she was found stabbed to death in 1987. In the intervening years, Cupp not only changed his mind about Schofield but stepped down from the bench to make freeing Schofield his life’s work.

The case was widely publicized in the popular “Bone Valley” podcast. Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks to Cupp as he prepares for Schofield’s next parole board hearing.

Statement from Jacob S. Orr, assistant state attorney for Florida’s 10th Judicial Circuit:

“The defense continuously overlooks the overwhelming evidence that led to a conviction of Leo Schofield, Jr. at trial. Jeremy Scott [who confessed to the killing] is a proven liar that told multiple versions of events, sought money from the defense for his cooperation, and has been found by the court system to not be credible based on his bizarre testimony. This case has been reviewed by multiple prosecutors and judges that had no involvement in the trial; all have come to the same result. Of course, those reviews are based on the actual evidence in the case, not what has been presented in media accounts.

“Criminal cases, such as this, are appropriately resolved in a court of law, not in through media appearances, or even on podcasts. Multiple judges and several courts have upheld this conviction.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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