Robert Seman Jr. jumped to his death from a fourth-floor balcony just before going on trial for rape and triple murder

By Char Adams
April 11, 2017 09:20 AM

An Ohio man accused of raping a 10-year-old girl and setting a fire that killed her and her grandparents jumped to his death from a fourth-floor courthouse balcony on Monday before he could face trial, reports say.

Robert Seman Jr., 48, was walking through the Mahoning County Courthouse with police in Youngstown after a pre-trial hearing when he quickly ran from the officers and jumped over a banister at around 9:30 a.m., WKBN reports.

“I saw a deputy at the railing, and I saw this white object falling to the ground,” a reporter at the scene, Joe Gorman, told WKBN. “I knew what it was, and I just screamed.”

Robert Seman Jr.
Mahoning County Sheriff's Office via AP

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Footage obtained by WLS-TV showed Seman Jr. wearing tan pants and a white shirt as he calmly walked alongside officers. Soon, he is shown running from the police and climbing over the banister.

Seman Jr. died just one day before jury selection was set to begin on his triple murder trial, the Associated Press reports. He was accused of raping 10-year-old Corinne Gump then setting the March 2015 fire that killed Gump and her grandparents, William, 63, and Judith Smith, 61, at their home.

The blaze occurred the day Seman Jr. was set the day the man’s rape trial was set to begin in Youngstown, the AP reports. Prosecutors said that burns were found on the man’s body at the time of his arrest.

Many were surprised at Seman Jr.’s act on Monday, with Sheriff Jerry Green saying that the man looked to be in “pretty good spirits.”

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“He was talking about the future of his trial, and he just decided to jump.”

Lisa Cappitti, Gump’s stepmother, told the Youngstown Vindicator that the family doesn’t “know how to feel” as a result of Seman Jr.’s death.

“It’s sad,” she said. “There’s no justice at all.”

However, one of the Schmidt’s neighbors held a different sentiment.

“I hollered, ‘Hallelujah!’ ” Jean McCammond told the publication. “Lucifer is digesting the weirdest, meanest soul that was ever on earth.”