YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Robert Seman’s courthouse death has people talking. Many are wondering if he made up his mind earlier to end his life or if it was a split decision.
Mahoning County Sheriff’s deputies said the leg restraint that Seman had on Monday underneath his pant leg works by locking in place if he had tried to run.
There is a bar that is strapped to the ankle and secured with Velcro straps up the leg. It would have made it almost impossible to run away. Other than that device, Seman was not restrained by handcuffs or shackles.
“He is not to appear to be in custody, and it is just one of those things. Am I comfortable with it? Heck no, at any time. Even in a courtroom situation, you don’t want a guy who is there for capital murder to not have restraints on,” Greene said. “This isn’t something I’m happy with, but this is something that I know is part of the justice system. It’s part of what courts are burdened with when it comes to tainting a jury or being able to see the jury. And we know that there was one that they failed to seat.”
“He is not to appear to be in custody, and it is just one of those things,” said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene. “Am I comfortable with it? Heck no, at any time. Even in a courtroom situation, you don’t want a guy who is there for capital murder to not have restraints on.”
The courthouse is a 100-year old building, made for a different time and different security procedures.
Greene said getting defendants to each courtroom is different, while not violating what the judges want and protecting the right to a fair trial. He added it’s a balancing act protecting that right while also protecting the safety of the deputies, judges, the public and yes – even Seman.
“Are we going to change anything?” Greene said. “We’re certainly going to look at that, obviously, but I don’t see any issues with this and I am not going to lose sleep over this one.”
Greene said Seman’s jail cell was checked and there was nothing out of the ordinary inside. Investigators listened to phone calls and still came up with nothing that would indicate his intentions.
Greene said they had no clue that Seman was thinking of jumping from the fourth floor.
“It doesn’t matter where he was. I’m telling you this right, if he wanted to go over, you saw how quick it was, he was going over,” Greene said. “I am more concerned with the lack of restraints and handcuffs with the security of my deputies.”
The video shows that Robert Seman jumped to his death, and it’s why the sheriff released the video immediately. He said any length of the investigation was going to show that Seman made the decision entirely on his own.