A Michigan man convicted of killing a man who expressed romantic interest in him on a TV show has been freed.
Jonathan Schmitz, 47, spent 23 years in prison for the 1995 murder and was let out on parole Tuesday, CBS Detroit reported.
Schmitz was invited to appear on a taping of the national daytime 1990s talk show “The Jenny Jones Show” in Chicago, where he would meet a “secret admirer.”
Scott Amedure, an acquaintance of Schmitz who was 32 at the time, was that secret admirer.
On the unaired segment, Jenny Jones brings an unsuspecting Schmitz on stage and says, “Well, guess what, it’s Scott that has the crush on you,” as the audience hoots. Schmitz laughs and politely explains that he is “completely heterosexual.”
Three days later, after drinking heavily, Schmitz bought a 12-gauge shotgun and fatally shot Amedure at his mobile home in Lake Orion.
He called 911 immediately after the shooting and told police he’d committed the murder because he had been humiliated on national TV.
Schmitz, who was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 to 50 years, was granted parole at a March hearing.
“Did he get what he deserved? I don’t know,” Frank Amedure Jr., Scott’s brother, told local station WXYZ. “Should he be in there longer? I don’t know. So I struggle with all that, but he’s not the only person I blame for my brother’s death.”
Amedure said the people involved in the show should have also been held accountable for their role.
In 1999, a Michigan civil jury found the show’s producers liable for the death and awarded the Amedure family $25 million, though that ruling was reversed on appeal.
Jones’ show, known for segments like “My Teen’s Too Hot” and “I Hate My Own Race,” was on the air until 2003.