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1990s / Jenny Jones Talk Show Guest Driven to Murder
On March 6, 1995, Jenny Jones, the hostess of a TV talk show that bore her name, attempted to shock one her guests. The talk show had debuted in 1991 but had failed to deliver significant ratings until its subject matter became more sleazy starting in 1993. Jones' plan that day was to have a homosexual Michigan man named Scott Amedure admit to having a crush on his neighbor Jonathan Schmitz. Schmitz, a heterosexual, agreed to appear on the program because he had been led to believe that his secret admirer was a female. Unbeknownst to the show's staff, Schmitz had a history of mental illness, so Amedure's revelation weighed negatively on his mind. The media at the time gave a woefully incomplete account of what happened. It portrayed Schmitz as someone who became violent almost immediately. However this clip from the show--which never aired--shows that Schmitz accepted the news as gracefully as could be expected given the circumstances. Only after he received a sexually charged letter from Amedure after taping the show did Schmitz snap. He took some money from his savings account, purchased a shotgun, and fatally wounded Amedure in the latter's mobile home. Schmitz called police shortly thereafter to report what he had done. Schmitz was found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to between 25 and 50 years in prison. A successful appeal resulted in a retrial--where Schmitz was again found guilty and the prison term was reinstated. Amedure's family won a $25 million lawsuit against The Jenny Jones Show. That decision was later overturned on appeal. The Jenny Jones Show ended in 2003.