Witness Blames Talk Show for Death
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) _ A psychiatrist testifying Wednesday in a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit blamed ``The Jenny Jones Show″ for the death of a gay guest who revealed a secret crush on another man.
Jonathan Schmitz confessed to shooting Scott Amedure in 1995 three days after the taping on the show, which never aired.
Dr. Bernard Carroll, who testified for Amedure’s family, said he thought the show deceived Schmitz, whom he said suffered from mental illnesses.
``Jonathan Schmitz would not have killed Scott Amedure but for them appearing on this show,″ Carroll said. ``This was a psychological assault and battery.″
Amedure’s family sued the show and its producer, Warner Bros., claiming they ambushed a mentally ill Schmitz. The show contends it was not responsible for Amedure’s death.
Carroll said he had reviewed Schmitz’s medical records, and had diagnosed him as suffering from depression and bipolar disorder with occasional psychotic episodes, and had a history of alcohol abuse.
He said Schmitz had once thought his girlfriend had died while she was on a trip, and had nailed himself inside his apartment, built an altar to her and didn’t leave for four days.
Carroll also said the show repeatedly told Schmitz his secret admirer could be a woman _ even though the title of the show was ``Same Sex Secret Crushes″ _ and that Schmitz did not want to believe otherwise.
When the admirer was revealed as Amedure, and Amedure describes a sexual fantasy about Schmitz, Carroll said the show turned into a ``sadomasochistic situation.″
``He’s being abused, but at the same time he’s tolerates it because he’s unable to marshal the resources to leave,″ he testified.
Schmitz turned violent three days later only after he couldn’t suppress his pain any longer, Carroll said.
The defense was set to question Carroll on Thursday.
In 1996, Schmitz was convicted of Amedure’s murder. The verdict was overturned because of an error in jury selection. His retrial is scheduled for Aug. 19.