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Talk Show Slaying Case Wraps Up

May 6, 1999

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) _ Claiming producers of ``The Jenny Jones Show″ did everything but pull the trigger, lawyers for the family of a guest who was killed after taping the program asked for a verdict of $71.5 million.

Jurors were to begin deliberating today after attorney Geoffrey Fieger argued that the show and its corporate owner, Warner Bros., were liable for the shooting death of Scott Amedure, a gay man who was killed after revealing his crush on another guest.

Ms. Jones attended Wednesday’s closing arguments in her first visit to the courtroom since she sparred with Fieger on the witness stand in April.

``She has the audacity to come here today,″ Fieger told the jury, pointing at her. ``It’s important enough for Ms. Jones to come here today when the show is going to be held responsible for its actions.″

Amedure, 32, died in 1995 after disclosing his attraction to Jonathan Schmitz on the show. Authorities said Schmitz bought a shotgun, drove to Amedure’s trailer in Oakland County’s Orion Township and shot him twice in the chest three days after the taping.

Schmitz was found guilty of murder in 1996, but his conviction was thrown out on appeal. His retrial is set for Aug. 19.

Amedure’s family contends a mentally ill Schmitz was lured onto the show believing he would meet a woman, and was humiliated into murder when his secret admirer turned out to be Amedure. Schmitz has said he is heterosexual.

Lawyers for Warner Bros. argued Schmitz was told his secret admirer could be a man or woman, and the show played no role in Amedure’s death. They also contend Schmitz might have killed Amedure because the two had a sexual encounter, a charge Fieger denied.

``They solicited a victim. They picked a murderer and provided a motive,″ Fieger said of the show. ``They did everything in this case except pull the trigger.″

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