On Monday, April 10, 2017, following his appearance at a status conference hearing at the Mahoning County Courthouse in Youngstown, Ohio, 48-year-old Robert Seman Jr. broke away from the deputies escorting him and jumped over the fourth-floor balcony railing to his death.
Caution: Video below shows Robert Seman Jr. jumping to his death at the Mahoning County Courthouse:
Seman, dressed in civilian clothing and without handcuffs, had one deputy walking in front of him and one behind him as the three men walked single file through the hallway on the fourth floor after leaving Judge Maureen Sweeney’s courtroom. Just seconds before Seman bolted from the deputies, leaping without a moment’s hesitation over the balcony wall’s ledge, the defendant was talking with the deputies.
Robert Seman Jr. was to have been transported on Tuesday, April 11 to Portage County, Ohio where his trial was scheduled to have begun the week of April 17, 2017. Seman had pled not guilty to the criminal charges against him that included first the repeated rape of his girlfriend’s 10-year-old daughter, then charges of arson and triple murder in the deaths of the alleged rape victim, Corinne Gump, and her grandparents, Bill and Judy Schmidt, that occurred in March 2015, shortly before the girl would have testified against him in his rape trial. Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for Seman’s crimes.
Mahoning County Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa held a press conference on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, detailing for the public the evidence the district attorney’s office had against Robert Seman Jr. had the case gone to trial as scheduled:
Reaction from the community to Seman’s death have been varied, from those who felt he received the consequences he deserved for his alleged actions to those upset that justice for the victims will never be truly obtained without the trial having gone forth.
“Never. No. He worked on his case with us. He was very responsive. Judge Sweeney asked him everyday are you okay? What’s going on? She kept reviewing his jail records to make sure he was getting everything he needed. No indication of this at all.”
Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa indicated that she felt the defendant’s suicidal actions spoke for themselves, saying:
“I think it’s very telling. I think it’s very telling. He knew the evidence against him. Every witness we talked to in preparation for the case. They didn’t know why he was not pleading guilty or not asking for some kind of plea, so this is very telling to anyone out there.”
Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene revealed that no suicide note was found on Seman’s body or in his cell. After reviewing the video of the incident, Greene declined to take any disciplinary action against the two deputy escorts, believing they acted according to protocol.
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