Youngstown house, site of suspected arson-murder, inches closer to demolition

At least three people are confirmed dead in a fire in Youngstown, Ohio.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Neighbors in a south side Youngstown neighborhood are a bit closer to seeing a tragic eyesore demolished.

The house on Powers Way is where prosecutors say murder suspect Robert Seman set a fire that killed three people last March; something neighbor Jean McCammon hasn’t been able to forget.

“I look out every morning and I still see them working in the yard and tidying up,” she said. “I just loved them dearly.”

Jean is referring to Bill and Judy Schmidt, who lived right across the street from her for years. They died early in the morning on March 30th, along with their granddaughter, Corrine Gump. Their house has sat this way ever since.

Prosecutors believe Seman set fire to the house to prevent Gump from testifying against him on a rape charge.

“If it was accidental, it would be different, but intentional?” McCammon said. “You know that’s harder to take for a human being to see the tragedy unfold in front of your eyes and then look out every morning and see it happening again and again.”

Had Seman been convicted, he would have faced life in prison without parole. Now he’s also charged with three counts of capitol murder.

His attorneys asked to hire their own arson investigator to look through the house to see if there might be any evidence they can use in Seman’s defense. Lawyers confirmed that the inspector was at the house on Tuesday, but could not discuss the case any further.

In the meantime, neighbors have been waiting for this eyesore to be torn down.

“You feel a certain sadness about it…The horror of the deaths and it’s just very, very sad,” McCammon said.”I feel that the family will have some peace of mind, to know that this tragedy is kind of behind them.”

But there is still something she would like to see remain: an old tree. McCammon believes it would allow neighbors to remember happier times, of the Schmidt’s working in the yard.

Seman is due back in court for a pretrial next week.

WKBN is told Judge Maureen Sweeney could sign an order to demolish the house early next month.

WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s