YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Lawyers for Robert Seman — the accused triple murderer who fell to his death Monday after leaping off a courthouse balcony — are breaking down how they would have defended their client had the case gone to trial.
Prosecutors presented what would have been their case against Seman on Tuesday.
Defense attorneys claim some evidence was passed up by prosecutors and no other suspects were investigated.
They say surveillance video from a parking lot near the house on Powers Way shows a man walking toward the house, and then getting in a car and driving away minutes later. Yet, Seman’s lawyers say prosecutors did not use this evidence in their case and that police made no effort to find the person in the video.
The prosecution claims evidence, such as gas cans found at the scene with a glove containing Seman’s DNA, would have proved he was the one who set the fire that killed 10-year-old Corinne Gump and her grandparents.
Seman’s defense team questions the state’s evidence, saying a woman he lived with had access to the gas cans. They said she lied to police about owning a cell phone, then erased everything on the phone and turned it in for a new one.
Prosecutors claim burns on Seman’s face came from the fire, but the defense says an inmate threw a liquid cleaning solution on his face. They had an expert witness testify that the burns were not flash burns from a fire.
Seman’s attorneys mentioned that the state was not able to prove that he removed the GPS tracker — it was only speculation. The defense claims he was at home at the time of the fatal fire and that the device was not tampered with.
They also argue that news reports from the morning of the fire claim law enforcement did not find evidence to believe the fire was suspicious. The defense says K9s trained to find evidence of accelerants, such as gasoline, did not find any at the house that morning.
Prosecutors had said after Seman’s jump, his apparent suicide was “telling.” His lawyers responded by saying the fact that the state took their case to the media on Tuesday, even after Seman’s death, is what’s “telling.” The defense said the only reason they decided to go to the media with Seman’s case was because sitting by and allowing only one side to be heard was “unconscionable.”