Day care murder suspect found guilty, gets life sentence

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Mar. 15, 2012 Decatur: Hemy Neuman waits for his lawyers to return to the defense table from the bench where they were discussing the jurors question with the judge. The jury returned to the jury room for deliberation in the Hemy Neuman trial at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Decatur, Thursday, Mar. 15, 2012. Neuman is charged with the murder of Rusty Sneiderman at a Dunwoody daycare center in 2010. John Spink / jspink@ajc.com
DECATUR, Ga. —

The man accused in a high-profile shooting outside a Dunwoody day care has been found guilty of malice murder, but mentally ill. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Channel 2 Action News crews were at the Decatur courtroom where jurors handed down the verdict Thursday. GE Energy engineer Hemy Neuman admitted to killing Rusty Sneiderman, his co-worker’s husband, but pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. In addition to the murder conviction, he was also found guilty of a weapons charge. In court, he apologized to his family, along with the Sneidermans.

“He was a good man with so much ahead of him, and I‘m so, so, so sorry for their loss," Neuman said, holding back tears.

Prosecutors said the shooting was fueled by Neuman’s affair with Sneiderman’s wife, Andrea. Neuman acknowledged the alleged relationship but said angels and demons told him the Sneiderman children were his own, and he needed to protect them.

Neuman and Sneiderman's parents were in the courtroom when the verdict was read. Sneiderman's brother, Steve, spoke on his family's behalf shortly before sentencing. He said the pain of the loss of his brother is almost unbearable.

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“He had no right to take Rusty from us, especially from Sophia and Ian,” Steve Sneiderman said. “Every single day in our lives, there will be a hole in our hearts where Rusty should be.”

Andrea Sneiderman, who was been the focus of much of the trial, was not in the courtroom Thursday. But in previous testimony, she denied the affair. She said though Neuman made advances toward her, she remained faithful to her husband. Her credibility has been called into question several times, including when witnesses said she alerted them of the shooting before authorities told her about it.

Andrea Sneiderman was barred from the courthouse after prosecutors said she had inappropriate contact with witnesses.

Doctors for the defense diagnosed Neuman as bipolar and delusional. They said he went through bouts of depression, first stemming from abuse suffered at the hands of his father.

But co-workers and expert witnesses for the prosecution said Neuman didn’t exhibit the behavior of someone who was mentally ill. A forensic psychologist said he was faking mental illness and knew right from wrong.

During sentencing, Judge Gregory Adams said he could find no justification for Neuman's actions. He called the killing a "planned execution."

A lawyer for Andrea Sneiderman released a statement on her behalf, saying she is relieved about the sentencing.

"Nothing can bring back her husband, but it is reassuring to her that, after all of the noise and distractions surrounding this case, some measure of justice has been done for Rusty," attorney Jennifer Little said.

Click here for the full statement.

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