BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Entertainment  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Talk show cleared of guest's death
Talk show host Jenny Jones
Jenny Jones testified at the 1999 civil lawsuit
A US court has overturned a multi-million dollar verdict against American TV's Jenny Jones Show, reversing a ruling that it was responsible for the grudge killing of one of its guests.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled the talk show's producers and distributors had no legal duty to protect a gay man who was subsequently murdered by another guest.

Scott Amedure, 32, was shot by Jonathan Schmitz in March 1995, three days after the two appeared on a show about secret admirers in which Mr Amedure revealed he had a crush on Mr Schmitz.

Mr Schmitz, who had a history of mental illness, blamed the programme for embarrassing him on national television.


Nothing in Mr Schmitz's demeanour... put defendants on notice that he posed a risk of violence to others

Appeals court judge William Murphy

During taping of the show Mr Amedure confessed to his fantasies involving Mr Schmitz.

Mr Amedure's family filed a wrongful death case after the shooting, arguing that 32-year-old Mr Schmitz had been tricked into appearing in the belief his "secret admirer" was a woman.

A jury awarded them 18m ($29m) in damages in May 1999. But an appeals panel overturned the verdict.

In a majority ruling, it said the show's makers "had no duty to anticipate and prevent the act of murder".

'Sensationalism'

Jenny Jones said she was "elated" with the ruling.

"I am thrilled the Court of Appeals agreed that the show could not possibly have predicted and prevented this brutal crime," she said.

"Scott Amedure's murder was a horrible tragedy, but I have always believed that it was fundamentally wrong and unfair to blame the show."

Appeals court judge William Murphy was highly critical of the events on the Jenny Jones Show.

He said they had used "lies, deceit, sensationalism and outrageous behaviour while playing with human emotions".

"This caused Schmitz to suffer deep embarrassment, humiliation and extreme anger," Mr Murphy said.

The court said Mr Schmitz had given every appearance of being a normal, well-adjusted adult who had consented to being surprised on the show.

"Nothing in Schmitz's demeanour...put defendants on notice that he posed a risk of violence to others," said Mr Murphy.

Mr Schmitz is now serving a 25 to 50-year sentence for second-degree murder.

See also:

13 Apr 99 | Entertainment
26 Aug 99 | Americas
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes