A man charged with killing his gay admirer after their talk-show appearance attempted suicide twice but seemed to be turning his life around before learning of his admirer, his mother testified Friday.
Connie Schmitz said her son, Jonathan, was “really getting his life together” and was excited about going on the “Jenny Jones Show” and meeting the person he thought would be a woman with a secret crush on him.
“You’re going to meet the girl of your dreams,” she recalled telling him.
Connie Schmitz’s remarks reinforced her husband’s earlier testimony about the letdown her son suffered when his secret admirer was revealed on the show to be a man. The topic was “Same-Sex Secret Crushes.”
The 26-year-old Schmitz, who is heterosexual, says he was driven to kill Scott Amedure, who told Schmitz on the show that he had a crush on him and described “whipped cream and champagne” fantasies.
Lawyers for Schmitz have not denied he shot Amedure, 32, three days after the March 1995 taping of the show, which never aired. But they contend the talk show staff misled Schmitz into thinking his secret admirer was a woman.
Schmitz’s lawyers say his embarrassment, along with his history of mental and physical illnesses, pushed him over the edge of sanity. The resulting depression left him unable to form the intent necessary to commit first-degree murder, they say.
After her son turned 16, Connie Schmitz testified, his family noticed he sometimes would get depressed for weeks at a time.
He tried to commit suicide by combining pills and alcohol, Connie Schmitz said. After a second attempt, he was enrolled in a two-week program at a treatment center. Because he was over 18 at the time, he was able to leave on his own after one week, she said.
After the taping, an obviously upset Schmitz called his family late at night from a bar, his father, Allyn Schmitz, testified. He said he and his wife were extremely worried, but an ice storm kept them from going to see their son that night.
“I could tell he was drunk. He was sobbing profusely,” the father testified Friday, his second day on the witness stand. “He was disjointed in his conversation.”
Schmitz said his son told him the show didn’t work out. He also told his parents he was concerned family members would think he was gay after it aired.
The parents said they saw their son the next day for about 20 minutes at his Lake Orion apartment. He appeared hung over, but assured them he would be fine, they said.
Two days later, Connie Schmitz said she came upon her son’s car at a gas station. The doors were open and police cars were all around.
“My first thought was that he was in the car dead,” she said.