Updated:DECATUR, Ga.,None —
The trial of a man accused of killing a Dunwoody businessman outside his son’s day care continued Thursday. Perhaps the biggest bombshell in the case happened early on day three of testimony when witnesses suggested the victim's wife knew her husband had been shot before she arrived at the crime scene.
The suspect, Hemy Neuman, is accused of gunning down Rusty Sneiderman in November 2010. But so far, the majority of the trial has focused on Sneiderman’s wife, Andrea. Her friend and father-in-law took the stand Thursday, contradicting the widow’s previous testimony.
On Tuesday, Andrea Sneiderman testified that she didn’t find out that her husband had been shot until she arrived at the hospital where he was being held. She said her son’s school called her and said there had been an accident. Sneiderman said she assumed something was wrong with her husband, but she didn’t know he had been shot.
“I didn't know until I got to the emergency room. No one told me what happened," she said.
Her friend of at least eight years, Shayna Citron, said she received a frantic call from Sneiderman on the morning of the shooting. Phone records obtained by Channel 2 Action News show Sneiderman was on the phone constantly during her drive to the hospital but never tried to call her husband, though she made six attempts to reach her boss, Neuman. She also called her parents, her brother and several friends, including Citron.
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"She was screaming to me that Rusty had been shot, and she didn't know if he was dead or alive and she was on her way to the hospital," Citron said.
Lawyers on both sides have also said the widow and the suspect were romantically involved. In her testimony, Sneiderman said Neuman made advances toward her, but she always remained faithful to her husband. Citron said after the shooting, she didn’t believe Sneiderman when she said there was no affair.
“But my heart really wanted to,” Citron said.
Then, the victim’s father, Don Sneiderman, took the stand and said Andrea Sneiderman told him his son had been shot even before she went to the school.
“Around 9:30 in the morning, Andrea called us, and she called and said Rusty had been shot. She was so, so sorry and she was going to Dunwoody Prep to find out what had happened,” he said.
The elder Sneiderman also said he met Neuman at his son’s shivah, a Jewish mourning ritual.
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The testimonies open the question of whether Andrea Sneiderman knew Neuman planned to kill her husband before the shooting, and if she could be charged in connection with the killing.
Sneiderman has not been given a chance to explain her answers on the witness stand and neither she nor her attorney would comment on the testimony. She currently faces no charges, but prosecutors have suggested she made several false or misleading statements during the investigation.
Former long-time DeKalb County chief prosecutor John Petrey told Channel 2 that even if Andrea Sneiderman knew Neuman was going to kill her husband but did nothing to stop it then that is not a crime. Prosecutors would need evidence she played an active role in the killing to file murder charges, Petrey said.
"If you assist in anyway whatsoever in the execution of a crime, you're responsible for whatever the person you helped did," Petry said. Petry said prosecutors could go after Sneiderman for perjury but it's not easy to get a conviction.
"The question is do you have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that she lied? That's a pretty big hurdle to get past," Petry said. Petry added that it is very common in trials for witnesses to contradict each other and themselves. If prosecutors believe Sneiderman perjured herself they'd have to prove what witnesses said was true and what Sneiderman said was false, Petry added.