New Murder Verdict Carries Dividends for 'Jenny Jones'

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Bad news for "Jenny Jones" killer Jonathan Schmitz — a second conviction for the second-degree murder of gay admirer Scott Amedure — might be good news for Time Warner. In April, a jury ordered the media giant (which owns Warner Bros., producer of "The Jenny Jones Show," as well as this publication) to pay $25 million to Amedure’s family for driving Schmitz to commit murder. The case is now on appeal — and Schmitz’ day in court may help that $25 million judgment disappear. "It’s likely that the verdict won’t hold up before an appellate court of judges anyway — they tend to be less emotional than some juries can be," says TIME legal corespondent Adam Cohen. "This conviction only adds to that likelihood."

Indeed, the thread that ran through judge-and-jury comments after Thursday’s guilty verdict (the first one, from 1996, was thrown out on a technicality) was that Schmitz’s oh-no moment on the show was neither a justification for murder nor a mitigation of blame. Schmitz's attorney, Jerome Sabbota, sought a lesser verdict of manslaughter, saying in Wednesday's closing arguments that Amedure continued to pursue Schmitz after the show to the point that Schmitz "lost all reason." But even he didn’t blame the show — just Amedure. And neither judge nor jury would even go that far, with some jurors pointing to the time elapsed between the taping and the killing as evidence that this was no crime of passion. Schmitz now faces life imprisonment — but Time Warner looks increasingly due for a refund.