VIDEO: Man on trial for murder of 10-year-old girl and her grandparents jumps to death in courthouse

Posted at 12:12 PM, Apr 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-11 10:19:56-04


An Ohio man accused of setting a fire that killed a 10-year-old he was accused of raping and her grandparents jumped to his death inside the Mahoning County Courthouse Monday.

Courthouse video shows a deputy in front of and behind an Robert Seman as he was led down a hallway. Suddenly, Seman lunged towards the fourth floor balcony and threw himself over the railing. He landed in the rotunda on the first floor and was pronounced dead.

Seman, 48, was in court for a status hearing for his death penalty case inside Judge Maureen Sweeney's chambers.

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Investigators estimate Seman fell 75 feet.

Sheriff Jerry Greene said deputies were following court-ordered procedures that Seman not be handcuffed so that potential jurors would not be tainted by images of the suspect in custody.

"From my many years of working the courthouse and knowing how you do things over there, we looked at that video and we saw nothing out of the ordinary of what the deputies did as far as securing him or how you're supposed to appear when you're in a trial," Greene told News 5.

Seman faced the death penalty if he'd been convicted of aggravated murder charges in the March 2015 deaths of 10-year-old Corrine Gump, 63-year-old William Schmidt and 61-year-old Judith Schmidt.

Prosecutors say Seman torched the family's home shortly before he was set for trial on the rape charges. Police discovered burns on Seman's body after his arrest over the gasoline-fueled arson.