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 (1970-07-18)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 Amedure
Scott Amedure.jpg
Born
Scott Bernard Amedure

(1963-01-26)January 26, 1963
DiedMarch 9, 1995(1995-03-09) (aged 32)
Cause of deathGunshot wounds
NationalityAmerican

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,[1][2] although the producers of the show claim that they did tell Schmitz that the admirer could be male or female.[3]

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".[4]

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.[3] According to the testimony at the murder trial, three days after the taping, Amedure left a "suggestive" note at Schmitz's house.[5] 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.[6][7]

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".[8] 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.[9] Schmitz was released from prison on August 22, 2017.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12] Time Warner's defense attorney later claimed the verdict would cause a "chilling effect" on the industry.[13]

The judgment was later overturned by the Michigan Court of Appeals in a 2-to-1 decision.[14] The Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear the case.[15]

Media coverageEdit

The podcast Criminal included the murder of Scott Amedure and following trial of Jonathan Schmitz in their episode, "Panic Defense," about the gay panic defense.[16]

The Jenny Jones controversy was also covered as the first episode in the Netflix series Trial by Media.[17]

In 2021, the controversy was covered in season 6 of the series How It Really Happened on the US TV network HLN in an episode titled "The Jenny Jones Show: Fatal Attraction".[18]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Fatal Shooting Follows Surprise on TV Talk Show–New York Times". The New York Times. 1995-03-12. Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
  2. ^ Carter, Bill (1996-11-01). "Talk-Show Host, Testifying at Murder Trial, Plays Down Her Role in Program". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-02-14. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
  3. ^ a b TomEvision (17 April 2010). "Jenny Jones Trial (Producer testifies)" – via YouTube.
  4. ^ Swenson, Kyle (2017-08-23). "A 1995 TV show surprised him with his gay secret admirer. This week he leaves prison". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  5. ^ Bradsher, Keith (1996-11-13). "Talk-Show Guest Is Guilty Of Second-Degree Murder–New York Times". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
  6. ^ "Man Convicted Again In Talk Show Murder". The New York Times. 1999-08-27. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  7. ^ Jennings, Marianne M. (2005). Business: Its Legal, Ethical and Global Environment. Thomson West. pp. 388. ISBN 0-324-20488-4.
  8. ^ "Jenny, on the Spot". Washington Post. 1996-11-01.
  9. ^ "25-50 Year Sentence in Talk Show Slaying". The New York Times. 1999-09-15.
  10. ^ "Man who killed after Jenny Jones Show leaves prison". Lansing State Journal. 2017-08-23.
  11. ^ "STATE OF MICHIGAN COURT OF APPEALS" (PDF). 2006-05-09. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-05-09. Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  12. ^ Sadler, Roger L.Tyreese (2005). Electronic Media Law. SAGE. p. 227. ISBN 1-4129-0588-5.
  13. ^ "Talk show held negligent in guest's killing". cnn.com. 1999-05-07. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  14. ^ "Michigan Court of Appeals–Court Opinions". Archived from the original on 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
  15. ^ "Gilbert, et al. v. Ferry, et al" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-07-08.
  16. ^ "Panic Defense". Criminal. December 6, 2019.
  17. ^ Gajanan, Mahita (May 11, 2020). "What to Know About the Six Sensationalized Court Cases Examined in Netflix's Trial By Media". Time.
  18. ^ "Season Six of HLN's Longest Running Original Series "How It Really Happened with Hill Harper" Premieres Sunday, March 14 with Two-Hour Investigation of Missing Utah Mom Susan Powell" (Press release). CNN. March 1, 2021. Retrieved April 12, 2021.

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