Robert Seman, facing trial for multiple homicide charges, leapt off the fourth floor of Youngstown’s Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas on Monday, falling to his death.
Having allegedly sparked a 2015 house-fire killing 10 year-old Corrine Gump and her grandparents, Seman was being escorted through a hallway before rushing towards the fourth floor balcony and hoisting himself over the edge.
Gump and her grandparents, Bill and Judy Schmidt, were home at the time Seman is alleged to have set fire to their home, as all three were killed by smoke inhalation. The young girl was prepared to testify against Seman in a rape case alleging involving Seman’s alleged rape of Gump, providing likely motivation for the arson and subsequent murders.
Seman was in the Mahoning courthouse Monday morning for an “informal” status hearing, a final hurdle before his trial was to begin. Dawn Cantalamessa, an Assistant Prosecutor for Mahoning County, said Monday’s hearing was nothing more than an exchange of logistics for Wednesday’s jury orientation. In accordance with previous hearings, Seman was not restrained by handcuffs, but by a leg brace to restrict the speed in which he could potentially elude police.
Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene commented on the lack of restraints, saying there was nothing unusual about the situation. “Due to the fact that the courts do not want individuals on trial to be seen with restraining devices on, or per se, in custody,” Greene mentioned.
Surveillance video shows Seman casually walking with police before quickly aiming for the balcony and launching himself over and down four stories. Cantalamessa believes, despite Seman’s staunch proclamation of innocence, his suicide is rather revealing.
“I think it’s very telling,” Cantalamessa said. “He knew the evidence against him. Every witness we talked to in preparation for the case, they didn’t know why he wasn’t pleading guilty or asking for some sort of plea, so this is very telling.”
His body was taken from the court house following his suicidal jump. Disturbing images.
An Associated Press report on Seman’s suicide can be seen below:
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