— Hemy Neuman has already admitted to gunning down the husband of a woman with whom he allegedly had an affair. Now, he's pleading insanity — and saying "angels" in the form of vintage music stars compelled him to shoot.
Neuman's defense lawyers insist he was insane when he shot Rusty Sneiderman, a 36-year-old father of two, in broad daylight outside his own son's suburban Atlanta preschool, in November 2010. The defense is arguing that Neuman, bipolar and suffering from psychosis, was visited by a demon sounding like Barry White and an angel with a voice like Olivia Newton-John when he fired and hit Sneiderman three times in the chest at close range in front of Dunwoody Prep.
“If this case wasn’t so serious, resulting in the death of a good man and the destruction of multiple families and a community in Dunwoody, then this would be laughable," said Esther Panitch, the lawyer for Neuman’s estranged wife, on TODAY Wednesday. "But unfortunately, this is a tragedy. For Mr. Neuman to come out nine months after he pleaded not guilty to now decide he’s seeing demons and angels is insulting.’’
Neuman’s estranged wife is a potential witness for the prosecution in its attempt to discredit his insanity plea.
As the murder trial got underway Tuesday, the prosecution painted Neuman as a cold-blooded killer who was having an affair with the murdered man's widow, Andrea Sneiderman.
“The man wanted someone else’s wife, so he killed her husband and got caught,’’ a prosecutor said in court.
Sneiderman, 39, was pressed on the stand Tuesday about the alleged affair with Neuman, who was her supervisor at GE Energy. Sneiderman claimed he made passes at her and sent romantic emails, which she never reported, but that there was no affair. He reportedly gave her chocolate and flowers, and the two took business trips together, but Sneiderman claims they did nothing more than hold hands.
“I think I’m a pretty nice person,’’ she said on the stand. “I’m a very caring person. I did nothing but try to help Hemy Neuman. I suggested to him to seek counseling in his marriage, suggested that he not move out of his home.’’
“In the courtroom there were a lot of people who believe Andrea was lying on the stand,’’ Panitch told Carl Quintanilla Wednesday. “She seems to have had selective amnesia when confronted with emails by the prosecutors indicating that Mr. Neuman loved her. I don’t know about you, but if a boss of mine sent me an email telling me he loved me multiple times, it’s not something I’d be likely to forget.’’
Neuman had earlier been caught by police snooping outside the Sneidermans' home while wearing a mask. The night before the murder, Andrea Sneiderman called Neuman three times, once for 18 minutes, according to the prosecution.
When workers at the daycare center called Andrea Sneiderman following the shooting to say “something had happened’’ to Rusty, she called her family first, then made six calls to Neuman. On Tuesday, the prosecution asked, why didn't she call her husband?
“Because they just told me something happened to Rusty, what are the chances he'd answer his cell phone?’’ she said.