Friends of grandparents killed in arson shocked by defendant’s death

The deaths of Bill and Judy Schmidt were a blow to the deaf community, whose members are still grieving the loss two years later

Irene Tunanidas was shocked by news of Robert Seman's death.

POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The deaf community is making its thoughts known after the death of triple murder-arson defendant Robert Seman.

Bill and Judy Schmidt, two of the people Seman was accused of killing, were both deaf.

Irene Tunanidas — who, like the Schmidts, is also deaf — had known Bill and Judy for 45 years.

She heard about Seman’s death from a friend. When she found out, she was shocked.

Tunanidas first met the Schmidts at Kent State University while she was getting her master’s degree. She was their student teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School.

She’s been making a photo album through the years, compiled of memories she has with the couple.

Tunanidas remained close with the Schmidts for a time and described them as fun-loving and easygoing.

“Bill and Judy were fun to work with.”

She said the Schmidts were good people and helped out in their neighborhood.

“They were giving people. They gave from the heart.”

Bill’s and Judy’s deaths were a blow to the deaf community, whose members are still grieving the loss of their friends two years later.

“We lost three lives. It’s hard for the deaf community to recover,” Tunanidas said.

Still, she hopes there will be closure in the future.

“We need to forgive and move on, that is it.”


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