Sex Crimes

Northeast Ohio man pleads not guilty to arson fire that killed 3 before his rape trial

A northeast Ohio man has pleaded not guilty to setting a house fire that killed a 10-year-old girl who accused him of sexual assault and her grandparents.

Authorities say the March 30 fire was set hours before jury selection was to start in Robert Seman Jr.'s rape trial.

The 46-year-old Seman entered his not guilty plea Friday in a Youngstown courtroom to 10 counts of aggravated murder. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Authorities say 63-year-old William Schmidt, 61-year-old Judith Schmidt and a granddaughter who lived with them died of smoke inhalation in the fire.

Seman is being held in a county jail after a judge refused to set a bond. His attorneys did not return telephone messages on Friday.