Ohio judge keeps death option in arson fire that killed 3

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio judge has denied a request to remove the death penalty option for a man accused of killing a 10-year-old girl and her grandparents in a March 2015 arson fire.

Attorneys for 47-year-old Robert Seman Jr., of Green, sought to have the death penalty declared unconstitutional because of how the appeals process works. A Mahoning County judge on Friday ruled that the attorneys failed to show how the process constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

Prosecutors say Seman raped 10-year-old Corinne Gump and set her grandparents’ Youngstown home ablaze, killing the girl, 63-year-old William Schmidt and 61-year-old Judith Schmidt.

Seman is charged with 10 counts of aggravated murder along with burglary and arson. He’s pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled to start in September.