In 1995, Jonathan Schmitz agreed to appear on an episode of the Jenny Jones Show when producers reached out to him. Schmitz was told that a secret crush wanted to be reunited with him on national television. Believing that the crush could be a former girlfriend or a cute female co-worker, Schmitz agreed.
Though Schmitz was told that the crush could be male or female, Schmitz was shocked when he was greeted by his friend Scott Amedure, who was joined on stage by their mutual friend Donna. While Schmitz had known that Amedure was homosexual, the taping of the show allegedly embarrassed Schmitz. After flying home from Chicago, Schmitz fell into a spiral of binge drinking that would later lead to him shooting Amedure after finding a suggestive note addressed to him from Amedure at his home.
Schmitz made a full confession, telling police that his appearance on the Jenny Jones Show had embarrassed him and that the note left by Amedure was the straw that broke the camel’s back. On September 14, 1999, Schmitz was sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison. Now, after a March 2017 parole hearing, Schmitz is being released.
In a statement to Fox 2 News Amedure family attorney Geoffrey Fieger says, “He deserved imprisonment but so did everybody else involved in that Jenny Jones show. He was the perpetrator but he was also a victim of them and they got off scott free.”
Fieger had represented the Amedure family during their civil suit against the Jenny Jones Show. During those hearings, Fieger told the courts, “They solicited a victim, they picked the murderer and the provided the motive. They did everything in this case except actually pull the trigger.” Fieger’s defense resulted in the courts ordering those involved with the Jenny Jones Show to pay the Amedures a sum of $25m.
While ultimately it was Schmitz who pulled the trigger, the Amedure family still strongly believes that the murder would never have happened if it weren’t for the television show.