Jonathan Schmitz was 24-years-old when his acquaintance Scott Amedure revealed he was romantically interested in him during the March 5th, 1995 taping of “The Jenny Jones Show,’ on secret admirers.
Schmitz, who said he wasn’t gay, later fatally shot Amedure in Lake Orion. Michigan three days later.
Schmitz turned himself in to police, saying he killed Amedure because he was embarrassed on national television.
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.
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.
Schmitz was sentenced 25 to 50 years for second-degree murder.
Schmitz, now 47, was granted parole after a March 2017 hearing and was released from Parnall Correctional Institution after serving 22 years.
Scott Amedure’s older brother, Frank Amedure Jr. said he’s troubled by the parole decision and that he’s unsure Schmitz ‘learned what he should have’ in prison.
‘I wanted assurance that the (parole board’s) decision was not based on just good behavior in prison,’ he said.
‘I’d like to know that he learned something, that he’s a changed man, is no longer homophobic and has gotten psychological care.’
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 supposedly negligent role that led to Amedure’s death. In May of that year, the jury awarded the Amedures $25 million dollars. 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.
The judgment was later overturned by the Michigan Court of Appeals in a 2-to-1 decision. The Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
The episode was never publicly aired in it’s entirety until many years after the incident.