Murder of Scott Amedure
Scott Bernard Amedure
January 26, 1963
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||March 9, 1995 (aged 32)|
Lake Orion, Michigan, U.S.
|Cause of death||Murder|
Scott Bernard Amedure (January 26, 1963 – March 9, 1995) was an American murder victim who was fatally shot after revealing on The Jenny Jones Show that he was attracted to an acquaintance. The acquaintance — Jonathan Schmitz (born July 18, 1970), who had a long-standing history of mental illness — later shot Amedure and was found guilty of second degree murder. The Amedure family, retaining Geoffrey Fieger as lawyer, sued The Jenny Jones Show for wrongful death, but the judgment was subsequently overturned by the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Appearance on The Jenny Jones Show and murder
On March 6, 1995, Amedure taped 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 had no idea who his secret admirer was. Schmitz stated that he went on the show out of curiosity, and he later claimed 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."
According to footage of the murder trial, it was later stated by a friend of Amedure's that Amedure and Schmitz went out drinking together the night of 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 the bank, purchased a shotgun, and then went to Amedure's mobile home. He questioned Amedure about the note. Schmitz then returned to his car, took 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, called 9-1-1, and confessed to the killing.
Trial and sentencing of Schmitz
At trial, defense attorneys argued that Schmitz, who had been diagnosed with manic depression and Graves' disease, was driven to homicide by mental illness and humiliation. 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.
In 1999, the Amedure family sued The Jenny Jones Show, Telepictures, and Warner Bros. for the ambush tactics and, as the Amedure family saw it, their negligent role that led to Amedure's death. In May, the jury awarded the Amedures $25 million. The jury found that The Jenny Jones Show was both irresponsible and negligent, contending that the show intentionally created an explosive 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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- Court Opinion – Majority Authored Published
- Court Opinion – Dissenting
- Overthrown due to Bias
- Several articles regarding the Appeals Court Ruling from The Oakland Press
- Equality Michigan – LGBT Rights Organization
- Murder of Scott Amedure at Find a Grave
- Jonathan Schmitz at the Michigan Dept. of Corrections