Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

Ohio: Robert Seman jumps to his death at courthouse

Robert Seman
Robert Seman
Robert Seman has thrown himself off the fourth floor of the Mahoning County Courthouse and is dead.

Seman had a status hearing in his death penalty case and threw himself off the balcony onto the floor of the rotunda.

A Vindicator reporter witnessed the jump.

“He must have made his mind up.” That's how Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene reacted after Robert Seman jumped to his death from the fourth floor of the county courthouse Monday morning.

According to Greene, deputies were in the process of escorting Seman to a holding cell at the time.

“It seemed like he was in good spirits. He was talking about the future of his trial and he just decided to jump,” said Greene.

Seman was dressed in civilian clothes and not wearing restraints due to rules covering defendants appearing in court, according to Greene.

Seman faced the death penalty if convicted of the March 30, 2015, deaths of Corinne Gump, 10, and her grandparents, William and Judith Schmidt, in an arson at their Powers Way home the day Seman was to go on trial for raping the girl.

Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa, lead prosecutor on the case, said that she thinks "it's telling" that Seman leaped to his death instead of taking his chances at trial.

Cantalamessa said she is surprised because Seman had proclaimed his innocence and there was no mention of any problems by his attorneys.

She said she was looking forward to trying the case because the evidence was strong and that the case just about fits every specification for the death penalty.

Jury orientation in Seman's capital murder trial was to begin April 12 in Portage County Common Pleas Court.

The trial of Seman, 48, of Green, was being moved to Portage County after attempts to pick a jury in September and January in Mahoning County were unsuccessful because of pretrial publicity.

The bodies of 10-year-old Corrine Gump and those of her grandparents, Bill and Judy Schmidt, were found in their burning home on Powers Way in Youngstown on March 30, 2015.

The fire was later ruled arson and Seman was charged with murder.

Sources: Youngstown Vindicator, wfmj.com, April 10, 2017

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