An Ohio man who was to face trial this week for setting a fire that killed a girl he was accused of raping and her grandparents apparently committed suicide Monday when he jumped from a fourth-floor courthouse balcony.
Robert Seman Jr., 48, was returning to the Mahoning County Jail from the county courthouse in Youngstown when he suddenly ran to the balcony and hurled himself over the edge. He was coming from a status conference before his trial was set to begin Tuesday in Portage County, 35 miles away.
“According to a couple of the attorneys and basically everybody there, it seemed like he was in pretty good spirits,” Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene told the Youngstown Vindicator. “He was talking about the future of his trial, and he just decided to jump.”
“I heard somebody shout and I looked up on the opposite side. I saw a deputy at the railing, and I saw this white object falling to the ground,” Vindicator reporter Joe Gorman told WKBN. “I knew what it was, and I just screamed.”
WKBN reported that Seman had been allowed to change out of his usual orange jail jumpsuit and wear civilian clothing to court. His only restraint was a brace worn under his pant leg to keep him from running.
Greene said Seman’s lack of restraint was a standard procedure “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.”
Seman could have faced the death penalty if convicted in the deaths of 10-year-old Corrine Gump, 63-year-old…