Sharing the Guilt
updated 11/25/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/25/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST
Schmitz "was living a very stable life, working all the time," juror Joyce O'Brien said after the verdict Nov. 12. "And then when the show came, it was a catalyst that threw him back into an emotional tailspin." Adds fellow juror Dale Carlington: "We all felt [Schmitz] had a definite mental problem, and the show exacerbated it. It played a part. A big part." Even Frank Amedure Jr., the victim's brother, concurred: "None of this would have happened if it wasn't for Jenny Jones exploiting [the issue of] homosexuality."
Schmitz showed little emotion as the verdict was read. He turned to his weeping mother, Connie, and whispered, "You're all right, Mom. Take it easy." For him, the future—up to life in prison—is a certainty. For Jones and ambush-style talk shows, the jury is still out. The Amedure family has filed a $25 million civil suit against Schmitz and The Jenny Jones Show. Jones denied intending to ambush Schmitz but was otherwise vague on the witness stand. "I don't produce the show, I don't book the show," she said.
Ultimately, though, this is not a case in which there are winners. Concluded juror O'Brien: "Everybody in this instance was a victim. I feel just as bad for both families."