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amedure Scott Bernard Amedure

January 26, 1963
March 9, 1995

"Generous and compassionate - is what stands out most in my mind about Scott"


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Scott Bernard Amedure was born on January 26, 1963 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

The father, Frank Amedure Sr., was a local tractor and trailer driver. Patricia Graves, his mother, was a house wife. Scott had a younger sister, Tina, 3 elder brothers Frank, Mike, Wayne and 9 nieces and nephews.

Scott and our family moved to Waterford, Michigan in 1968 or there about. Mother and father were divorced in 1970. Scott lived with mother during certain periods in his life, but primarily lived with father, likewise did brothers and sister. Scott went to several different schools, primarily Lake Orion and Pontiac area schools. The divorce and the problems that came with the divorce, were extremely difficult.

At age 17 Scott joined the US Army Signal Corps. He got his GED and completed his technical training in the field of satellite communications. Scott learned to ski while in Germany and broke his leg skiing in Switzerland.

Scott received an Honorable Discharge after serving a full tour of duty, his rank was SP4. Scott later joined the Army Reserves along with brother Wayne, this was known as "The Buddy, Buddy System". I believe these times are Wayne's fondest memories of Scott.

After the Army, Scott had several technical jobs such as communications and phone system installations, however, in the last few years in his life he primarily was a bartender, he enjoyed the night life. Shortly before his death he was taking some computer classes at a local college.

Generous and compassionate, is what stands out most in my mind about Scott. He had taken-in and took care of several friends that were homeless and near death from AIDS, (3 or 4 separate occasions).

Scott was out-going and spontaneous, always looking to have fun. He also liked simple things like fishing and camping with brothers. He loved cooking and tinkering with electronics. He loved buying gifts for his nephews and nieces on holidays and birthdays.

Scott collected clowns, I think he would have loved to be one. The night before the taping of the infamous "Jenny Jones Show", Scott was photographed with clowns that he apparently met while hitting Chicago's hot spots.

Frank J. Amedure Jr.

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While denying she purposely deceived Jonathan Schmitz to get him to appear on a secret same-sex crush episode of "The Jenny Jones Show," a former producer said the program employed undercover officers because of the underpredictable nature of guests' reactions to surprises.

But Karen Campbell also said she believed the show employed the officers because Jones received death threats. The officers, she suggested, were intended to ensure Jones' safety.

In 1995, Scott Amedure was shot to death by Schmitz three days after Amedure revealed his secret crush on him during a taping of "The Jenny Jones Show." Amedure's family believes the show, its parent company Warner Bros. and production company Telepictures started the chain of events that led to the murder, and they seek $50 million in a negligence suit.

They claim that the program purposely misled Schmitz before the show and encouraged outrageous fantasies from Amedure to embarrass Schmitz and create "good television."

Jones' producers, however, say the show had nothing to do with the murder, deny misleading Schmitz before the show, and suggest something else happened between the two men that triggered the slaying. "The Jenny Jones Show" is produced by Warner Bros., which is owned by Time Warner, a part owner of Court TV.

Campbell conducted the pre-show interview with Schmitz during which he told her that he would not want to come on the show if his secret admirer was a man. When Schmitz asked Campbell about the gender of his secret admirer, defense documents say, she told him, "It could be a man, or it could be a woman or a dog."

According to Campbell, Schmitz was nervous about appearing on the show. Fieger focused on a pre-show interview in which Schmitz said, "This is going to be in front of millions of people. It could be embarrassing." Campbell, he suggested, should have -- and did -- realize Schmitz's hesitance from this statement.

However, Campbell insisted that she did not mislead Schmitz into thinking his crush was a woman and that he was aware of the possibility that it was a man. During direct examination by plaintiffs' attorney Geoffrey Fieger, she denied accusations that she deceived Schmitz so that the show could get a strong emotional reaction from him. Despite Campbell's denials, Fieger confronted her with a note she wrote Jones just before Schmitz went on stage that read, "Dear Jenny, Jon is going to die when he sees Scott."

Campbell denied telling guests that she would "get mad at them" if they did not act outrageous. She insisted she never encouraged guests to express explicit sexual fantasies in pre-show interviews, and pointed out in some instances they offered the information first. Refuting suggestions that she aggressively pursued Schmitz's participation on the show, Campbell noted during cross-examination that Schmitz said he wanted to "think about" being a guest after she suggested the possibility that his secret crush was a man. Schmitz, she said, called her back after 30 minutes to agree to come on the program.

Schmitz, Campbell testified, did not appear upset after the taping, and nothing indicated that he would harm anyone.

"Jon said he had a great time on the show," Campbell said. "In fact, he requested to fly home with him [Amedure]."

During re-direct examination, Fieger grilled Campbell, having her admit that she did not change any plane reservations herself. He was incredulous that Campbell could remember a post-show conversation but could not recall who wrote various parts of the show's scripts or who briefed Schmitz just before his onstage appearance.

While Campbell defended her actions, Jonathan Schmitz's father had to defend himself during his testimony earlier Wednesday. Insisting his son felt an extreme "letdown" after the surprise revelation of a same-sex crush, Allyn Schmitz blamed the program for the events leading up to Amedure's murder. He also denied suggestions that his attitude towards homosexuality contributed to the anxiety his son felt about people seeing him on the secret same-sex crush program.

Allyn Schmitz described how upset Jonathan was following the Jenny Jones taping. He testified that his son called from a bar, drunk and crying and claiming that he had smashed his car. His son, Allyn Schmitz told jurors, talked about being teased after his TV appearance and expressed concern that his grandparents would think that he was gay after the show aired.

According to the elder Schmitz, his son told him that the same-sex crush show would broadcast in three weeks and was worried about suffering further humiliation.

"He was upset that things did not go his way," Allyn Schmitz said. "He talked about how much money he had spent on new clothes and how he had thought he would be meeting the girl of his dreams. Then it turns out to be something else ... some nasty dirty trick."

According to Allyn Schmitz, after the Jenny Jones taping, his son went into a downward spiral, drinking and abusing drugs. Jonathan was not happy at all after the show, Allyn said. Given Jonathan's prior mental problems and suicide attempt, Allyn said, he was concerned that he would attempt to take his life again and asked his daughter to check-up on her brother. Allyn also testified he went to visit Jonathan the morning after their phone conversation. Alluding to his son's prior suicide attempts, the elder Schmitz said he knew Jonathan would not take the surprise revelation on "The Jenny Jones Show" or the subsequent teasing from co-workers very well.

Allyn claimed he tried to reassure Jonathan that everything would be all right and that his grandparents would not think he was gay. But he also emphasized that he was not anti-gay and that he would love Jonathan even if he was gay and had volunteered to go on a same-sex secret crush show. His only disappointment, Allyn said, would be that Jonathan would not give him grandchildren.

During cross-examination by defense attorney James Feeney, Allyn Schmitz had to defend the anger he felt after his son's appearance on the show. He claimed he was not angry at the homosexual topic of the show, only at the way the program treated his son.

Allyn said he was angry because his son was hurt. The elder Schmitz also was confronted with a statement he made where he said Jonathan killed Amedure to prove that he was not a homosexual and because he felt he was being stalked.

Allyn downplayed the statement saying it was speculation based on what he had read in newspapers at the time. Statements from others who claimed that his son and Amedure had a secret affair, Allyn suggested, were the result of payoffs by tabloid television programs such as "Hard Copy." He said he never made an attempt to get to the root of those accusations and insisted that Jonathan had never mentioned his friendship with Amedure before the show's taping.

Although Allyn previously testified that he encouraged his son's optimism that he would "meet the girl of his dreams" on "The Jenny Jones Show," he insisted that he did not express disappointment or displeasure with his appearance on the same-sex secret crush episode. He denied suggestions that he fostered his son's anxiety over how people would feel about him if they thought he was gay.

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Attorney Geoffrey Fieger is trying to make a case that the "Jenny Jones Show" is liable for the death of Scott Amedure, arguing that the show and its producers were negligent and intentionally created an explosive situation without due concern for the possible consequences. Fieger, who is representing the Amedure family, told the jury in his opening statement that the show, "did everything but pull the trigger and they must be held accountable."

parentsIn 1995, Scott Amedure was shot to death by Jonathan Schmitz three days after Amedure revealed his secret crush on Schmitz during a taping of "The Jenny Jones Show." Amedure's family is seeking $50 million in a negligence suit against the "The Jenny Jones Show," its parent company Warner Bros., and the production company Telepictures. Jones, who is a part owner of the show, is not being sued personally, but is listed as a witness. The trial began March 30.

Amedure's brother, Frank, believes "The Jenny Jones Show" would do anything to boost ratings. "They knew that intolerance to homosexuality and homophobia has been a contributing factor to many beatings and murders," wrote Frank on a webpage about the trial. "I feel it was Jenny's full intent to embarrass, humiliate and surprise Jon as much as possible. I am sure that if it weren't for ‘The Jenny Jones Show,' Scott would still be here," wrote Frank.

One of Fieger's first witnesses was Mary Altani Karpos, a sociology and criminology professor at the University of Miami, who testified that the murder was foreseeable. She said that she had tried to warn "The Jenny Jones Show" of inherent dangers in putting people in potentially embarrassing situations on national television.

It can be dangerous, Karpos said, for a homosexual to surprise a heterosexual with amorous feelings under various circumstances. But, she noted it can also be dangerous for a heterosexual to reveal a secret crush in public. She denied suggestions that homosexuals should not be able to reveal their feelings to others.

Fieger also said the program failed to adequately look into Schmitz's background, specifically that he had been treated for manic depression and had attempted suicide four times. Fieger said that when Amedure revealed his crush, Schmitz heard the audience's laughter and "was descending into madness."

In response to reporters' questions outside the courtroom, defense attorney James Feeney said that he intended to "present very extensive evidence" of a sexual relationship between Amedure and Schmitz. Feeney said he would argue that it was Schmitz's internalized homophobia triggered by an actual sexual relationship, not his appearance on "The Jenny Jones Show," that unleashed his homicidal rampage.

Jeffrey Montgomery, executive director of Detroit's Triangle Foundation, expressed exasperation with both attorneys' lines of reasoning.

"First I would like to say that I think this type of talk show stinks. I also believe that the Amedure family should not come under any criticism for trying to deal with the loss they have suffered and that they continue to endure," said Montgomery.

"Schmitz has been routinely defined as a heterosexual who was humiliated by a gay man on television. This is ridiculous reasoning. Even if someone comes on to you or makes a sexual advance, this does not justify murder. The so-called ‘homosexual panic defense' underlies this idea," said Montgomery. "As a gay man, the highest compliment I can pay to any man is to say I am attracted to him. This is not a crime.

"Having said these things, which I believe sincerely, it is important to place the responsibility for this crime on Jonathon Schmitz, who made the decision to kill someone. If someone really wanted to spread the blame in this case, I would take a look at the family who raised Schmitz," continued Montgomery.

In 1996, Schmitz was convicted of murder, but the conviction was overturned because of an error in jury selection. He is awaiting a retrial. His lawyers have admitted he killed Amedure, but contend that the show humiliated Schmitz, who was already fighting alcoholism, depression and a thyroid condition.

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April 30, 1999

Supporting the defendants' notion that "the same-sex secret crush" may not have been entirely surprising to Jonathan Schmitz, a co-worker testified that he warned Schmitz his admirer could be Amedure.

Chuck Hoover, who worked with Schmitz at the Fox & Hounds Restaurant, testified that after one phone call, Schmitz said that the producers of "The Jenny Jones Show" told him his admirer could be "a man, a woman or a transvestite." Hoover, who is gay, had dated one of Amedure's ex-boyfriends. (This information was not told to the jury.) According to the witness, Schmitz, before the show, laughed a bit at the notion his crush could be either of the three choices and did not seem offended.

Following the call, Hoover and Schmitz discussed who Jon's admirer could be. Hoover specifically recalled telling Schmitz that his admirer probably was Amedure.

Later, Hoover said, he found out that Schmitz confronted Amedure about whether or not he was in fact the secret admirer. Hoover claimed that he told Schmitz he suspected that Amedure was his secret admirer despite repeated denials. After the show, the witness said Schmitz seemed disappointed with what happened on the show, but generally fine.

On cross-examination, Hoover testified that Schmitz was the type of person who would be humiliated and embarrassed by what was done to him on "The Jenny Jones Show." Hoover also testified that it was his understanding that Schmitz wanted his admirer to be a woman -- that he wanted it to be his ex-girlfriend, Kristen Joyce. Hoover also testified that he found out that Schmitz wrecked his apartment on the night after the taping.

The family of Amedure believes that "The Jenny Jones Show" should have asked Schmitz whether he suffered from a mental illness before having him appear on the show. Amedure was shot to death by Schmitz three days after the taping.

Amedure's family believes the show, its parent company Warner Bros. and production company Telepictures started the chain of events that led to the murder, and they are seeking $50 million in a negligence suit. They claim that the program purposely misled Schmitz before the show and encouraged outrageous fantasies from Amedure to embarrass Schmitz and create "good television."

Jones' producers, however, say the show had nothing to do with the murder, deny misleading Schmitz before the show, and suggest something else happened between the two men that triggered the slaying. "The Jenny Jones Show" is produced by Warner Bros., which is owned by Time Warner, a part owner of Court TV.

Another witness who testified for the defendants was Karla Self, who said she was a close friend of Scott Amedure. Self said that a few weeks prior to the "Jenny Jones" taping, she went to Club Flamingo, a gay bar, and saw Amedure seated with Schmitz. All three of them were drinking, Self said, but they were not drunk.

Self said she never went to anyone with the information she had. Rather, someone from the Oakland County District Attorney's Office contacted her after her friend gave her name to their office. Self could not remember the name of the person who called her, but she spoke with that person twice. She said she was never asked to testify in the criminal trial, but her name remained in their files. That's how the defendants in this case found her, she said.

Plaintiffs' attorney Geoffrey Fieger gave a seething cross-examination of Self. After asking her if Elvis was also at the Club Flamingo that day, he pointed out that Self cannot produce the name of one person who can corroborate her testimony. Fieger then suggested that Self's name didn't appear on any of documents in the prosecutor's file for the criminal case. He asked the witness whether it was also a mere coincidence that she cannot remember the name of the person who contacted her from the office.

Fieger tried to impeach the witness's credibility by asking her whether she has been accused of fraud and of bad debt, but the Judge curtained that line of questioning and later instructed the jury to ignore Fieger's questions on the matter.

Fieger then pointed out what he said were "holes" in Self's stories. First, he questioned Self's claim that she met Amedure in 1991 in the Club Flamingo. He asked Self, "Don't you know the Club Flamingo wasn't even open in 1991 -- that it didn't open until 1992." Self answered that she had assumed it was in 1991 and that she simply must have been mistaken about the dates.

Lastly, Fieger questioned Self on exactly when she saw Amedure and Schmitz in the bar. He suggested that Self cannot pinpoint a date because the incident never happened. Self responded that she knew it was in March of 1995, but that she was unable to say with any certainty what day of the week it was and how close it was to the time of Scott's death. She said she simply couldn't remember. Self said it was about two to 14 days before the day of the killing. Fieger suggested that Schmitz could not have found the time to go to a bar in the middle of the afternoon considering that he was working double shifts all of the time.

On redirect, the defense suggested that it was between March 6 and March 9 that the meeting between the two men took place, but Self was still uncertain.

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"Can justice truly be served? I don't think so, unless they could magically take away the pain they have caused and bring back my brother..."

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