Updated:DECATUR, Ga.,None —
An expert witness in the Dunwoody day care murder trial told the jury she believes the suspect is pretending to have a mental illness.
Hemy Neuman is accused of gunning down Rusty Sneiderman in November 2010, but is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. Doctors for the defense have diagnosed him as bipolar and delusional, but a rebuttal witness for the prosecution said Neuman knew right from wrong.
“His behaviors aren’t consistent with someone so substantially impaired that they couldn’t reason,” Dr. Pam Crawford said Friday.
Neuman said he was visited by angels and demons who told him the Sneiderman children were his own and he must kill their father to protect them, but Crawford said he was inconsistent with his descriptions of them. Neuman maintains that he had a romantic relationship with Rusty Sneiderman's wife, Andrea Sneiderman. A claim she denied on the stand.
"As he talks to different people, as time goes on, in this several-month period, his story changes. It changes from no mention of demons, no mention of difficulty related to mania to all of these symptoms," Crawford said.
Part of her jailhouse interview with Neuman was played in court, and he admitted he no longer believes the visions were real. He said, looking back, they may have been manifestations of, “I don’t know, my own fears, my own insecurities.”
Crawford also questioned why Neuman felt compelled to follow through with the demon’s orders to kill Sneiderman. She said Neuman told her he was also repeatedly told to kill himself, but did not.
Neuman’s former boss and a jailhouse doctor also said he showed no signs of mental illness.
"He was a valued employee," said Neuman’s GE Energy boss, Eric Gebhardt.
He said Neuman consistently received excellent work evaluations and never appeared to be depressed.
A DeKalb County jail doctor testified Neuman reported suicidal thoughts to jail staff after other inmates threatened him for being Jewish.
"In my gut I didn't believe he was suicidal," Dr. William Brickhouse said. “There was never documented evidence of delusions, mental health requests. His behavior was exemplary."