A Michigan man who was convicted of the 1995 murder of his gay friend after he revealed he had a same-sex crush on him on a national TV show has been released from prison on parole.
32-year-old Scott Amedure and mutual friend Donna Riley brought then 24-year-old Jonathan Schmitz onto an episode of “The Jenny Jones Show” titled “Same Sex Crushes,” in which admirers confessed their affections to their secret crushes. Reportedly, Schmitz agreed to appear on the show thinking his admirer was female.
Jones prods Amedure to reveal his sexual thoughts about Schmitz and then replays Amedure’s spoken thoughts for Schmitz to hear. Schmitz appears embarrassed on the show and insists he’s not gay.
The episode never aired.
Three days after the show’s taping, Schmitz shot and killed Amedure at his mobile home. Schmitz confessed to authorities he murdered Amedure for embarrassing him on national TV. In 1996 Schmitz was sentenced to 25-50 years for second-degree murder.
Schmitz, now 47, served 22 years and was released on parole for good behavior from Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan.
Amedure’s older brother, Frank Amedure Jr., told PEOPLE the family isn’t happy about Schmitz’s release but some family members don’t place the blame entirely on him.
“I guess it’s like any other person who’s lost a family member to murder — they wouldn’t feel comfortable about the murderer being released,” Frank tells PEOPLE. “It might be easier if he [Schmitz] 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. But there’s a side of, at least me and maybe some of my family members, that we do feel he was victimized in all of this, and so we can empathize with all of that.”
The family has been vocal that they blame the producers of “The Jenny Jones Show” for manipulating Schmitz making them the catalyst in Scott’s murder. The family sued the show and was granted $25 million, but the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the verdict.