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Talk Show Murder: Jenny Jones By: Sam Carlson 9 May 2007.

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1 Talk Show Murder: Jenny Jones By: Sam Carlson 9 May 2007

2 The Jenny Jones Show Daytime tabloid talk show Ran from 1991-2003 Taped in Chicago at same studio as The Jerry Springer Show At first, showed covered serious issues, but then moved to more sensational topics such as strippers and wild teens as years went on

3 “Same Sex Secret Crushes” March 6, 1995: Taping of a show that featured people coming face to face with their secret crushes Jonathan Schmitz (left), 26, said he was told by the show’s producers that his “crush” was a woman The “crush” turned out to be his neighbor, Scott Amedure, 32, a homosexual Schmitz laughed during the show and showed no signs of what was to come

4 The Show Turns Deadly Three days after the taping, Schmitz receives a sexual note and assumes it is from Amedure Schmitz goes to Amedure’s mobile home in Michigan and shoots him twice in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun A 911 call minutes later contains Schmitz’s confession: “I just walked into the room and killed him.” Amedure

5 The Aftermath “Same Sex Secret Crushes” episode never airs Schmitz charged with first- degree murder Michigan v. Schmitz murder trial begins The Jenny Jones Show claims it had told Schmitz that his crush could be male or female Schmitz

6 Media in the Courtroom Judge Francis X. O’Brien prohibits the press from interviewing witnesses until after the trial The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News appeal, saying the order violates the First Amendment The appellate court sides with the newspapers O’Brien then prohibits media from interviewing witnesses before they testify and prohibits interview with counsel in certain areas The appellate court overturns the former order but upholds the latter

7 The Verdict November 12, 1996: Schmitz convicted of second-degree murder and possession of a firearm December 4, 1996: Schmitz sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison, with a possibility for parole after 20 years

8 But Wait… Schmitz appeals, and the conviction is overturned in 1998 because of an error in the jury selection of the original trial 1999: Schmitz gets a re-trial and the same sentence

9 Meanwhile, Another Wave of Litigation Amedure’s parents sue The Jenny Jones Show for $50 million, claiming the show was responsible for Scott’s death Jones testifies, says the producers told Schmitz that his admirer could be male or female May 7, 1999: The jury finds the show responsible and awards the parents $25 million The parents’ lawyer says the show should have done a more extensive background check on Schmitz prior to the show, particularly to see if he had any mental illnesses Producers of the show claim they never misled Schmitz about whom his crush was and thus the show had no part in the murder Jones Amedure’s parents

10 Media Impact Homosexuality on television was still rare in 1995, so the show’s topic itself caused the initial controversy Decision in the civil trial changes the way talk shows discover and screen their guests Geraldo Rivera calls the tactic used by the show “ambush television” and says he had used it on his show Rivera also says he believed the show did lead to Amedure’s death Producers of the show decided not to air any more shows that featured “same-sex crushes” Rivera

11 The Final Word October 2002: Michigan Court of Appeals overturns previous $25 million decision, says the show isn’t responsible for Amedure’s death “Logic compels the conclusion that defendants in this case had no duty to anticipate the act of murder committed by Schmitz three days after leaving defendants’ studio and hundreds of miles away,” wrote the court.

12 Bibliography BBC News. Talk show killer convicted of murder. Retrieved from: BBC News. Talk show testimony delayed. Retrieved from: CNET Networks Entertainment. Jenny Jones. Retrieved from: jones/show/4507/summary.html jones/show/4507/summary.html Court TV Online. Michigan v. Schmitz. Retrieved from: Detroit Free Press. Hummer sells a bike fit for the military. Retrieved from: Epinions (Detroit News logo). Retrieved from: Detroit_News/display_~latest_prices Detroit_News/display_~latest_prices Fox News. Geraldo Rivera. Retrieved from:,2933,38978,00.html,2933,38978,00.html Khan, Kim. Geraldo Rivera sees victory for plaintiffs in “Jenny Jones” civil trial. Retrieved from: Michigan Department of Corrections. Jonathan T. Schmitz. Retrieved from: New York TV Show Tickets. The Jenny Jones Show. Retrieved from: Robinson, Bryan. Schmitz receives 25 to 50-year sentence for “Jenny Jones” slaying- again. Retrieved from: Robinson, Bryan. Jury awards over $25M to Amedure family in “Jenny Jones” civil trial. Retrieved from: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Media restrictions on ‘Jenny Jones’ case limited on appeal. Retrieved from: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Appeals panel throws out jury verdict in talk show murder case. Retrieved from: Retzloff, Tim. Schmitz sentenced to 25-50 in Amedure murder.Retrieved from:

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