Updated:DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - It's a high-profile murder case with no gun in evidence. Yet prosecutors said in court filings that they have tied the murder weapon to suspect Hemy Neuman.
Neuman is accused of shooting and killing Rusty Sneiderman outside a Dunwoody preschool in November. Prosecutors specifically referred to Neuman as having purchased "the murder weapon" prior to the shooting. A defense filing refers to state witness Jan DaSilva, who "claims he sold a handgun to the defendant."
"Oh, it's extremely lucky that the person who originally bought the handgun came forward and said, "Look, I sold this person that gun,'" said Rusty Morris, a Newnan gun store owner who is not associated with the case.
He said in Georgia, it's legal to sell a handgun face to face with no paperwork. DaSilva could provide the serial number from his original purchase of the gun. There is similar paperwork for a .40-caliber Bersa pistol included in the case evidence filing.
"A .40 caliber Bersa, there's thousands of them out there, probably thousands sold in just the Atlanta area in the last few years," said Morris.
Investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer asked him, "How else would they have found the person who sold him that gun if that person hadn't come forward?"
Morris replied, "I doubt they would have, I doubt they would have. Because there would have been nothing else to link that particular person to that gun."
Prosecutors have not disclosed what evidence DaSilva may have provided, only that he identified Neuman from a photo lineup as the man who bought his gun.
Morris, who is also a former police officer, says if prosecutors are calling the gun the murder weapon, they must have somehow obtained another bullet or casing previously fired from that same weapon to match the ballistics from the crime scene.
Morris showed Fleischer some of the distinctive markings a gun leaves on a fired bullet or casing, almost like a fingerprint. But he said those are useless to investigators without having the actual gun, or another bullet or casing fired from that gun at a different time.
Many manufacturers include a spent casing in the package with a new gun, from a test fire to prove it works. A few gun manufacturers also keep that information.
Maryland and New York require gun buyers to submit those test casings, so the images can be stored in a database to help solve crimes. Georgia does not have a system like that.
Neuman's attorneys are trying to get DaSilva's identification of Neuman thrown out.
The murder trial is scheduled to begin in October.