Murder of Scott Amedure
Scott Bernard Amedure (January 26, 1963 – March 9, 1995) was an American murder victim. During a taping of The Jenny Jones Show, a television talk show, Amedure revealed that he was attracted to an acquaintance, Jonathan Schmitz (born July 18, 1970). Three days later, Schmitz confronted Amedure and shot him twice in the chest. He confessed to the killing and was found guilty of second degree murder. The Amedure family successfully sued The Jenny Jones Show for wrongful death, but the judgment was subsequently overturned by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The episode was never broadcast, although segments of it were played for television news programs.
Scott Bernard Amedure
January 26, 1963
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||March 9, 1995 (aged 32)|
Lake Orion, Michigan, U.S.
|Cause of death||Gunshot wounds|
Appearance on The Jenny Jones ShowEdit
On March 6, 1995, Amedure videotaped an episode of The Jenny Jones Show, in which he admitted to being a secret admirer of Jonathan Schmitz, who lived near him in Lake Orion, Michigan. Until the taping, Schmitz did not know who would be revealed as his secret admirer. Schmitz stated that he participated in the show due to curiosity, and he claimed later that the producers implied that his admirer was a woman, although the producers of the show claim that they did tell Schmitz that the admirer could be male or female.
During the segment, Amedure was encouraged by Jones to share his fantasies about Schmitz, after which Schmitz was brought onstage. According to the Washington Post, "[t]he two men exchanged an awkward embrace before the host dropped her bombshell." In response to Amedure's disclosure, Schmitz laughed, then stated that he was "completely heterosexual".
Aftermath and murderEdit
According to footage of the murder trial, it was stated later by a friend of Amedure's that Amedure and Schmitz went out drinking together the night after the taping and an alleged sexual encounter occurred. According to the testimony at the murder trial, three days after the taping, Amedure left a "suggestive" note at Schmitz's house. After finding the note, Schmitz withdrew money from a bank, purchased a shotgun, and then went to Amedure's mobile home. He questioned Amedure about the note. Schmitz then returned to his car, got his gun, and returned to Amedure's trailer. He then shot Amedure twice in the chest, killing him. After killing Amedure, Schmitz left the residence, telephoned 9-1-1, and confessed to the killing.
Trial and sentencing of SchmitzEdit
At trial, defense attorneys argued that Schmitz, who had been diagnosed with manic depression and Graves' disease, was caused to commit homicide by mental illness and humiliation, by way of the "gay panic defense". Schmitz was found guilty of second degree murder in 1996 and sentenced to 25–50 years in prison, but his conviction was overturned on appeal. Upon retrial, he was found guilty of the same charge once again and his sentence was reinstated. Schmitz was released from prison on August 22, 2017.
Trial of the show producersEdit
In 1999, the Amedure family, retaining Geoffrey Fieger as lawyer, sued The Jenny Jones Show, Telepictures, and Warner Bros. for the ambush tactics and, as the Amedure family considered it, their negligent actions that resulted in Amedure's death. In May, the jury awarded the Amedures $29,332,686.
The jury found that The Jenny Jones Show was both irresponsible and negligent, contending that the show intentionally created an unpredictable situation without due concern for the possible consequences. Time Warner's defense attorney later claimed the verdict would cause a "chilling effect" on the industry.
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