Man accused of Youngstown triple-murder in court for final pretrial

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The process of seating a jury to hear the murder case against Robert Seman is set to get underway later this week.

It has been almost two years since Seman was charged with the March 2015 murders of 10-year-old Corinne Gump and her grandparents, Bill and Judy Schmidt. Seman is accused of setting the fire in Youngstown that killed them.

Corinne Gump was scheduled to testify against Seman that day in a rape case.

Prosecutors knew they had a new set of complicated circumstances on their hands and possibly a capital murder case following the fire. 

“On literally the eve of trial, hours before this trial was supposed to begin, this victim dies in a fire,” said Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin.

Seman’s bond was revoked and that afternoon his girlfriend, who is Corinne’s mother, is brought in for questioning. Two days later Seman’s home in Green Township is searched and the next time he is in court his hands appear burned and covered with makeup.

Seman’s Green Township home is searched and the next time he appears in court his hands appear burned and covered up with makeup.

Three weeks later Seman was indicted for trying to bribe his ex-wife to get her to change her testimony about the rape case. But it is not until June that Seman is formally charged in the deaths of Corinne and her grandparents.

The indictment carries multiple death penalty specifications. Although his trail was set for September 2016, he is brought in to court nearly every month to make sure the case stays on track.

For months after the fire neighbors had to look at the burned remains of the house on Powers Way as experts finished searching it for evidence. After eight months, the house is finally torn down.

Ten months later jury selection begins, but it lasts only a few days when a perspective juror was overheard talking about the case and a mistrial is declared – forcing the whole process to begin again.

A new pool of roughly 160 jurors will come to the courthouse Friday and fill out questionnaires before being called back individually Feb. 7 to answer questions about what they may know about the case.

The trial is expected to last 8 weeks.

Tune in to 33 WYTV News at 6 p.m. for a look back at how the case evolved over the past 23 months up to this point.