Hemy Neuman faces life in prison if he’s convicted of the November 2010 shooting death of Russell Sneiderman at his trial, which begins Monday. His attorneys argue Neuman, who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, was incapable of telling the difference between right and wrong when he pulled the trigger.
The trial is expected to focus on Neuman’s motive and mental state at the time of the shooting. Sneiderman’s wife Andrea will play a key role in the case.
Neuman was Andrea’s supervisor at work and investigators have suggested the shooting could have been linked to an affair between the two. Her attorney has declined to address those allegations, and she said in a statement she considered Neuman a family friend.
Attorneys were set to sort through dozens of potential jurors on Monday for the trial, which is expected to last a few weeks. No matter the outcome, Neuman won’t be a free man. If he’s found not guilty by reason of insanity, Neuman will be turned over to Georgia’s mental health system.
Sneiderman died Nov. 19, 2010, after dropping off his 2-year-old son at the day care center in Dunwoody, a sub-urb northeast of Atlanta. A bearded man in a hoodie approached Sneiderman, fired several shots and then hopped into a silver minivan and sped away.
It happened quickly and police said no words were exchanged when Sneiderman was killed.
Sneiderman was a 36-year-old ambitious entrepreneur who graduated from Indiana University, married his col-lege girlfriend and earned his MBA from Harvard. They settled in Dunwoody, where they planned to raise their two children.
“Our family has lost its brightest light, and we don’t know why,” said his brother, Steve Sneiderman, days after the killing. “Can you imagine that?”
Neuman, who was born in Mexico and went to school in Israel, wasn’t interviewed by police until about six weeks after Sneiderman’s death. He was charged after police discovered he rented a silver minivan shortly before the shooting that matched the description of a vehicle fleeing the scene.
Andrea Sneiderman could be called to testify by both prosecutors and defense attorneys. She released a brief statement to the news media a year ago that said she as shocked to learn of Neuman’s arrest.
“I have been assured by the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office that Mr. Neuman is Rusty’s killer and that they will do everything in their power to bring him to justice,” she said in the statement. “My family and I are coop-erating in any way we can to assist them in their efforts.”
Andrea’s attorney, Seth Kirschenbaum, didn’t return calls seeking comment, but he has said his client is relieved Neuman admitted to the killing.
“This was a cold-blooded, premeditated murder,” he said. “However, hopefully the prosecution is ready to rebut Mr. Neuman’s insanity defense.”
Neuman, a Georgia Tech graduate, lived in a pricey home in a Cobb County subdivision. He worked at General Electric, where he supervised Andrea. He is the father of three children. His estranged wife Ariela has hired an attor-ney who plans to be at the trial on her client’s behalf.
Neuman’s defense attorneys have said they will seek to get jurors to set aside their emotions and focus on the tes-timony by expert witnesses who have studied Neuman’s actions. They say they have gathered ample evidence back-ing their claim that he is not guilty by reason of insanity.
“This case is not about whether or not he pulled the trigger. He is the one who did the shooting,” defense attorney Doug Peters said in an interview after Neuman’s plea change. The question the jury must answer, he said, is “what was his mental capacity at the time?”
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