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Bone Valley

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​​In 1987, 18-year-old Michelle Schofield was found dead in a phosphate pit in Florida. Two years later, her husband Leo was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Fifteen years later, previously unidentified fingerprints matched Jeremy Scott--a violent teenager who lived nearby. Jeremy has since confessed to Michelle’s murder. Yet Leo Schofield remains behind bars. In this groundbreaking podcast, Bone Valley host Gilbert King uncovers startling new evidence that Jeremy is responsible fo ...
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Earwitness

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One July night in 1995, Deputy Sheriff William G. Hardy was shot behind the Crown Sterling Suites hotel in Birmingham, Alabama. At the same time as the murder, at least ten people saw Toforest Johnson four miles away, at a popular nightclub called Tee's Place. But detectives zeroed in on him as a main suspect in Deputy Hardy’s murder anyway, ultimately resulting in Toforest being tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. For over a quarter century, Toforest has been confined to a 5’ by 8’ ce ...
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Twenty-two-year-old Elma Sands is found murdered in a Manhattan well on January 2nd, 1800. Her lover, wealthy and well-connected Levi Weeks, is accused of the barbaric offense. Weeks brings in the nation’s best legal defense team – none other than Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr – to clear his name while a pandemic-stricken New York City buzzes with scandal. This six-episode true story unfolds over the unbelievable two-day trial that laid the sexist roots of today’s justice system. Through ...
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BREAKING NEWS: Leo Schofield’s parole hearing set for April 17th. For photos, images, and full transcripts of each episode visit: https://lavaforgood.com/bone-valley/ To read and sign the petition from the Innocence Project of Florida visit: http://bit.ly/BringLeoHome Bone Valley is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal…
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Gilbert and Kelsey check in with Leo Schofield, who has spent the last 7 months at the Corrections Transition Program at Everglades Correctional Institution, where he’s been preparing for life on the outside after more than 35 years of incarceration. For photos, images, and full transcripts of each episode visit: https://lavaforgood.com/bone-valley…
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The Court has heard from seventy five witnesses. Aaron Burr makes a closing statement for the defense; Colden makes a final plea to the judge, then cracks from exhaustion. Levi’s brother Ezra is further implicated in the crime. In flashbacks, Elma prepares to say her vows; the lawyers prepare for trial. The verdict is announced. Erased: The Murder …
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The lawyers interrogate the likelihood of Ezra and Levi going to the Manhattan Well after tea with the McCombs. An expert measurer, who visited Levi in jail before the trial, speaks on the Weeks Brothers’ behalf. Ezra Weeks’ relationship to the murder site is deeper than anyone realized. Elma’s reputation is called into question. Plus, the defense …
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On July 16, 1949, 17-year-old Norma Padgett and her estranged husband, Willie Padgett, reported to police that they had been attacked by four black men in Lake County, FL, with Norma claiming that the men had raped her. On the same day, police arrested 16-year-old Charles Greenlee, and 22-year-olds Samuel Shepherd and Walter Irvin. 26-year-old Erne…
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An explosive secret from a Greenwich Street neighbor reveals that Elma’s home environment was different than her cousin described it. An unconventional testimony takes Colden by surprise, and he’s powerless over the barrage of doctors that Burr and Hamilton call to the witness stand. Colden turns the jury’s attention to Levi’s brother Ezra Weeks. E…
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Episode 8 of 8 In a rare and remarkable move, the current Jefferson County District Attorney, Danny Carr, has asked the court to throw out Toforest’s conviction and order a new trial. The original prosecutor, Jeff Wallace, joined Carr’s call to right this terrible wrong, yet Toforest remains on death row, and the State continues to seek his executi…
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Men’s Lunch on January 2nd, 1800 was interrupted when four men and a child discovered Elma’s mangled corpse in the Manhattan Well. Catherine Ring displayed Elma’s body outside their home on Greenwich Street, to show the world the damages and demand justice. Colden calls two expert witnesses to analyze the wounds on the corpse, hoping to close his c…
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Episode 7 of 8 The original trial prosecutor, Jeff Wallace, begins to doubt Violet Ellison's credibility several years after Toforest's conviction. Beth embarks on an investigative journey to examine Ellison's credibility, and discovers that Ellison appeared on the State's witness list in at least four other criminal cases. She speaks to the defend…
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Colden scrambles to debunk the suicide theory, calling witnesses who heard Elma’s screams the night of the murder. The defense team implicates Elma’s uncle Elias Ring in her death. Plus, a hectic interrogation of the murder site - Burr’s company’s well on land that he owns - which became notorious the moment Elma’s body was pulled out of water. Era…
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Welcome to the first murder trial in the American judicial system; it’s March 31, 1800 and you are here. Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr defend their client, Levi Weeks, who’s been charged with the beating and murder of his girlfriend Elma Sands. In this episode, Elma’s cousin recounts the night of the murder. Elma’s uncle creates chaos in the co…
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Episode 6 of 8 Beth unravels disturbing revelations about the State’s handling of Violet Ellison, the earwitness whose testimony forms the backbone of the case against Toforest. She tracks the tenacious investigative work of Toforest’s lawyers to prove Ellison was paid $5000 for her testimony - in secret. After years of denying that a reward was ev…
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Twenty-two-year-old Elma Sands is found murdered in a Manhattan well on January 2nd, 1800. Her lover, wealthy and well-connected Levi Weeks, is accused of the barbaric offense. Weeks brings in the nation’s best legal defense team – none other than Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr – to clear his name while a pandemic-stricken New York City buzzes w…
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Episode 5 of 8 Beth combs through the trial transcripts to understand how Toforest was convicted of Deputy Hardy’s murder with no physical evidence. During the trial, the State introduces a new witness - the earwitness. Violet Ellison claims she overheard Toforest talk about the murder on a jailhouse phone call – a theory the State initially reject…
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Episode 4 of 8 Beth examines the Hardy murder file in order to fully understand the investigation. She discovers a pattern of tunnel vision, willful disbelief of alibi witnesses, and a reliance on coercive interview tactics that suggest if witnesses don’t say what the police want them to say, they will end up as defendants and charged with crimes t…
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Episode 3 of 8 After learning that Yolanda Chambers changed her story hundreds of times and admitted to perjury, Beth sets out to understand Chambers’ motivations. Is she a villain or a victim? Beth tracks down her mother, who has never spoken publicly about the case. She learns important details about Chambers’ tragic life, including her role as a…
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Episode 1 of 8 Journalist Beth Shelburne meets with former Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley, who explains why he is deeply disturbed by the wrongful conviction of Toforest Johnson for the murder of Deputy Bill Hardy. Through her reporting on the case, Beth, like Baxley, is convinced that Toforest has no connection to the murder. She sets out to…
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Episode 2 of 8 Beth trains her focus on the days immediately following the murder, beginning with recordings of police interrogations of key witnesses. Yolanda Chambers, a 15-year-old girl, places Toforest at the scene of the murder. But Beth finds evidence that Chambers was manipulated by law enforcement officers into fabricating her testimony. Be…
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One July night in 1995, Deputy Sheriff William G. Hardy was shot behind the Crown Sterling Suites hotel in Birmingham, Alabama. At the same time as the murder, at least ten people saw Toforest Johnson four miles away, at a popular nightclub called Tee's Place. But detectives zeroed in on him as a main suspect in Deputy Hardy’s murder anyway, ultima…
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Leo Schofield’s parole hearing is held in Tallahassee, FL on May 3rd, 2023, before the Florida Commission on Offender Review. In the lead up to the hearing, Gilbert and Kelsey check in with Scott Cupp and Crissie Schofield. Following the commission’s decision, Leo’s friends, family, and supporters grapple with the outcome. And Leo processes the new…
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On Wednesday, May 3, 2023, Gilbert and Kelsey are on the way to Leo’s parole hearing. Live update from the hearing coming soon. For photos, images, and full transcripts of each episode visit: https://lavaforgood.com/bone-valley/ To read and sign the petition from the Innocence Project of Florida visit: http://bit.ly/BringLeoHome PLEASE CLICK HERE T…
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In preparation for the upcoming parole hearing in Tallahassee on May 3rd, Gilbert and Kelsey travel to Florida to preview what’s at stake for Leo. They visit a halfway house in Tampa, and speak to Crissie, Ashley, Jessie Saum, and Seth Miller. They also accompany Scott Cupp to meetings with Florida Senator Jonathan Martin and parole commissioners. …
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Leo shares a message for listeners of Bone Valley about the impact of the podcast on his life, and his hopes for freedom. For photos, images, and full transcripts of each episode visit: https://lavaforgood.com/bone-valley/ To read and sign the petition from the Innocence Project of Florida visit: http://bit.ly/BringLeoHome PLEASE CLICK HERE TO TAKE…
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Gilbert and Kelsey drive to Hardee Correctional Institution with Judge Scott Cupp, who hasn’t seen Leo in nearly a decade. Judge Cupp has arranged a visit with his former client, because he has something important that he wants to share—a personal decision he’s made—and he’s hoping to receive Leo’s blessing. For photos, images, and full transcripts…
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Maggie Freleng, Pulitzer prize winning host of Wrongful Conviction with Maggie Freleng sits down for a Q&A with Gilbert King and Kelsey Decker from the new podcast Bone Valley. Listen in as Gilbert and Kelsey share with Maggie the answers to many questions from their listeners and reveal some of the details that went into creating one of the finest…
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Chapter 9 of 9 Gilbert and Kelsey travel to the Florida prison where they will interview Jeremy Scott. Jeremy tells them about his interactions with prosecutor John Aguero, his involvement in a 1987 unsolved homicide, his encounter with Michelle Schofield, and how he copes with the violence of his past. Gilbert visits Leo Schofield one last time, a…
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Chapter 8 of 9 Leo Schofield faces more legal setbacks. Gilbert and Kelsey attend Leo’s latest hearings: one before an appellate court, and one before the parole board. In the aftermath, Gilbert writes a letter to Jeremy Scott. Soon, Jeremy begins sending detailed letters, and sharing more and more information about his crimes. Gilbert and Kelsey m…
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Chapter 7 of 9 Leo Schofield grapples with a devastating legal decision, and the intensity of his feelings towards Jeremy Scott. But he soon learns that Jeremy has more to say. Leo is granted another hearing, and Jeremy testifies once again. This time, he tells a different story. For photos, images, and the full transcript of this episode visit: bi…
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Chapter 6 of 9 Jeremy Scott’s ex-girlfriend reveals some incriminating information about his life in the late-1980s, leading Gilbert and Kelsey to investigate Jeremy’s potential links to another crime in a neighboring county. Leo Schofield is granted an evidentiary hearing to determine whether he should receive a new trial. Jeremy is called to test…
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Chapter 5 of 9 Gilbert and Kelsey do a deep dive investigation into Jeremy Scott. By speaking to people who were close to Jeremy at the time, a picture emerges of an impulsive and troubled teenager who was prone to violence. When investigators confront Jeremy about the newly identified fingerprints, he explains that he was in Michelle’s car to stea…
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Chapter 4 of 9 Gilbert and Kelsey analyze the State’s case against Leo Schofield and locate a juror who admits she didn’t believe that Leo was guilty. As the years pass, Leo’s appellate attempts fail, and he falls in love with social worker Crissie Carter who works in the prison. Crissie begins investigating Leo’s case on her own, and recruits a fr…
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Chapter 3 of 9 Facing the death penalty, Leo Schofield retains renowned Polk County defense attorney Jack Edmund, who must square off against an aggressive young prosecutor, John Aguero at trial. The prosecutor builds his case around testimony from numerous witnesses who describe a volatile relationship between Leo and Michelle, and a witness who c…
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Chapter 2 of 9 Leo’s friends and family search desperately for Michelle around Lakeland, Florida. Three days later, her body is found in a phosphate mining pit with 26 stab wounds. Leo is arrested, charged with first degree murder, and faces the electric chair. For photos, images, and the full transcript of this episode visit https://bit.ly/BVS1E2 …
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Chapter 1 of 9 Author Gilbert King receives a message from a Florida judge who claims that there is an innocent man in prison, wrongly convicted of murdering his wife back in 1987. King and researcher Kelsey Decker meet Leo Schofield in prison and learn about the disappearance of 18 year-old Michelle Schofield. For photos, images, and the full tran…
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In 1987, 21-year-old guitarist Leo Schofield was pursuing his rockstar dreams when his teenage wife Michelle was found dead in a phosphate mining pit in Lakeland, Florida. Two years later, Leo was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder he has always denied. Fifteen years after Leo’s conviction, previously unidentified fingerprints…
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In 1987, 18-year-old Michelle Schofield was found dead in a phosphate pit in Florida. Two years later, her husband Leo was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Fifteen years later, previously unidentified fingerprints matched Jeremy Scott--a violent teenager who lived nearby. Jeremy has since confessed to Michelle’s murder. Yet Leo Schofield …
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