The attorney for the wife of Hemy Neuman, accused murderer of Russell Sneiderman in Dunwoody last November 18, told The Crier, she and her client “believe there is someone else involved in the murder of Rusty Sneiderman who has not yet been arrested.”
The pronouncement by Dunwoody attorney Esther Panitch, came after news reports that Hemy Neuman’s lawyers last week filed papers with DeKalb Superior Court changing Neuman’s plea from “not guilty” to “not guilty by reason of insanity.”
The inference in Panitch’s statement was that the uncharged person could be Rusty Sneiderman’s wife, Andrea Sneiderman, who Ariela Neuman and her attorney have long contended was involved in an affair with Hemy Neuman. Andrea Sneiderman has never been arrested or charged in the murder of her husband.
Neuman's attorney Doug Peters announced the change in plea on Friday afternoon , claiming that Neuman was legally insane at the time he shot Russell Sneiderman just after the victim had dropped off his 2-year-old son at a Dunwoody preschool. The papers were then entered into court records on Saturday morning during a hearing.
The plea announcement came the same day that an affidavit was revealed claiming that Rusty Sneiderman’s widow Adrea and Neuman had an affair and that their relationship motivated Neuman to kill Andrea Sneiderman’s husband
The affidavit states: “Law enforcement has cause to believe that an extramarital affair between the defendant and Andrea Sneiderman in large part provided motive to murder Russell Sneiderman.”
The affair between Neuman and Sneiderman’s wife Andrea charged in the filed document has been alleged by Neuman's estranged wife, Ariela, for months and was part of her court proceeding for legal separation from her husband.
Neuman was a supervisor in the quality and engineering department at GE Energy in Cobb County and Andrea Sneiderman worked directly for him.
Panitch, said her client, Ariela Neuman, was “devastated” to learn her husband acknowledged pulling the trigger.
"To hear it from the defense, brought it all home," said Panitch, who has maintained for months that Neuman and Andrea Sneiderman were lovers.
Panitch has said her client saw no evidence of mental illness in Neuman. “The inability to fight the overwhelming desire to be with your lover is not a legal reason for insanity,” Panitch stated to the media.
Hemy Neuman was arrested by Dunwoody police and charged with the murder of Sneiderman on January 6. He had plead “not guilty” to the murder charges this past April.
In announcing the plea change, Peters said, “The issue is not what happened, but why it happened. The facts of this case are not in dispute.” Peters said, because of Neuman’s mental illness, he was unable to differentiate between right and wrong at the time of the shooting.
“This case is not about whether or not he pulled the trigger,” Peters told the media. “He is the one who did the shooting. The question is what was his mental capacity at the time?”
Prosecutors declined comment on the latest developments. They filed an emergency motion September 16 to have Neuman examined by their own experts, a standard response in cases like this.
The insanity plea presumably takes some pressure off the state, which no longer has to substantiate that Neuman killed Sneiderman. The burden of proof now switches to the defense to prove their client was indeed insane. If the defense is successful, Neuman would become a ward of the state mental health system.
The jury could also find him guilty but mentally ill, in which case Neuman would become an inmate within the Georgia Department of Corrections, where he would receive treatment for his sickness.
Peters said Neuman has been evaluated by “the best” mental health professionals. “We have extensive and substantial evidence to prove his innocence [by reason of insanity],” he said. Defense attorney Bob Rubin added the defense will rely on experts along with “lay witnesses.”
In the latest filing, the DeKalb County district attorney charges evidence is being concealed that, on Dec. 28, more than a month after shooting Sneiderman, Neuman sent the dead man’s wife a “gift” from iTunes — the romantic ballad “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars.
Investigators attached to the affidavit the complete lyrics to the song “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars, which say in part, “Her lips, her lips, I could kiss them all day if she’d let me. Her laugh, her laugh she hates but I think it's so sexy. She's so beautiful and I tell her every day.”
“At the time she received the email, Andrea Sneiderman was in Florida with her parents preparing to observe the 10th anniversary of her wedding at the synagogue where she and Rusty had been married,” according to Attorney Seth Kirschenbaum who represents Andrea Sneiderman. “This was an unsolicited email and she did not respond to it nor did she open the attachment.”
Kirschenbaum released a statement late Friday that said, “We are relieved that Mr. Neuman has admitted that he killed Rusty Sneiderman. This was a cold-blooded, premeditated murder. However, hopefully, the prosecution is prepared to rebut his insanity defense.”
Neuman’s trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 17. The defense said they are ready to proceed on that date, but it’s yet unknown whether the prosecution will seek a delay.