YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The man accused of murdering a little girl and her grandparents by burning their house down was back in a Mahoning County courtroom Wednesday for another pretrial hearing.
His lawyers are working to move the trial out of Mahoning County, arguing that there has been too much pretrial publicity.
Wednesday was meant to be an all-day suppression hearing, as the defense is looking to keep some of the state’s evidence away from the jury, but defense lawyers admitted that they did not have a number of reports ready and asked for more time.
Mahoning County Judge Maureen Sweeney told Seman’s lawyers that they need to have reports on DNA and other evidence ready by next Thursday.
Seman is charged in the arson murders of 10-year-old Corrinne Gump and her grandparents, Judy and Bill Schmidt, in March of 2015. His lawyers say that the rape case against Seman shouldn’t be allowed in the murder trial because laying out the details of the rape case would poison the jury.
“A witness was killed, and that’s all I believe the jury needs to know,” said Attorney Lynn Maro.
Prosecutors said, however, that Seman’s motive for killing the girl was because she was set to testify against him in that rape trial. The hearing was set on the same day that she died.
“They jury’s gonna have to determine whether that was important enough to him to commit that crime,” said Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa.
Seman’s lawyers also say that a GPS ankle bracelet Seman was wearing shows he was at home in Green Township at the time of the fatal fire, and they said burns on Seman’s face that morning were from liquid chemicals and could not have been covered with makeup, as prosecutors have charged.
Lawyers are expected to argue all of that next week, when they try to suppress more of the state’s case.