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Jenny Jones

This Day in History: ‘The Jenny Jones Show’ Gay Crush Murder

Gettyimages | Paul Natkin
By Sharon Oliver

In 1995, 24-year-old Jonathan Schmitz was invited to Chicago for a March 6 taping on 'The Jenny Jones Show.' Schmitz would appear in an episode involving secret crushes. Also appearing on the same segment as guests were Scott Amedure and a female friend, Donna Riley.

The trio hailed from Lake Orion, Michigan, located about 30 miles north of Detroit. They knew each other, but no one could ever have imagined that a soon to be unfolding secret from this episode would lead to murder.

You Think You Know Someone

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Gettyimages | Paul Natkin

While actress and comedian turned talk show host Jenny Jones questioned Amedure about his buried feelings for and fantasies about Schmitz, the unsuspecting Schmitz was tucked away backstage wearing headphones so he could not hear the conversation. Jonathan Schmitz knew Scott Amedure through their mutual friend Donna Riley, who lived in the same apartment complex as Schmitz.

What Schmitz didn't know was Amedure's feelings for him. He would later tell police that Jones' producers told him his admirer was a woman. Jones and her staff would deny the claim.

Shock and Embarrassment

Jenny Jones
Gettyimages | Paul Natkin

Once Schmitz stepped foot onto the stage to join his acquaintances, he quickly learned the identity of his secret admirer. It was not a woman as he allegedly been told. It was Scott Amedure. An obviously embarrassed Schmitz maintained his composure and reacted in a jovial manner towards Amedure.

He covered his faces with his hands when Jones asked her staff to roll back footage of Amedure talking about his sexual fantasies. When Jones questioned Schmitz on his relationship status, he replied that he was available but straight and while Amedure's crush was flattering, he was not interested.

Three Days Later

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Humiliation is one thing. National public humiliation is a whole 'nother animal. Three days after the three returned to their homes in Michigan, Schmitz discovered an unsigned note which was sexual in nature, left at his apartment. Assuming it was dropped off by Amedure, he purchased a shotgun and ammunition, went to Amedure's mobile home and shot him twice in the chest at close range.

Schmitz immediately called police, telling them his experience at the television taping had eaten away at him. While the episode never aired on 'The Jenny Jones Show,' it was televised on Court TV (now TruTV) as part of evidence presentation during their coverage of the Schmitz trial.


Gettyimages | Marilyn Nieves

'The Jenny Jones Show' received tremendous amounts of backlash after the murder and faced a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the Amedure family. Schmitz was convicted of second-degree murder in 1996. After his conviction was overturned on appeal, he was found guilty in 1999 and released from prison in 2017 at age 47.

During the time of Schmitz's release, Scott Amedure's brother, Frank Jr., said he was not comfortable knowing Schmitz free. "It might be easier if he was old, an old gray-haired man, but he's still pretty young at 47. He's still got a lot to go and my brother doesn't,” Frank Amedure said. The brother did admit to believing Schmitz had been victimized by the show.

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