DEKALB COUNTY, Ga.,None - Opening statements began Tuesday in the trial of a man accused of killing a Dunwoody entrepreneur in a day care parking lot.
Rusty Sneiderman, 36, was gunned down in November 2010 after dropping off his then-2-year-old son at his school. Sneiderman’s wife’s supervisor, Hemy Neuman, has been charged with murder in the case. Neuman has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He said angels and demons resembling celebrities told him to kill Sneiderman.
But DeKalb County prosecutors opened the trial by describing him as a calculated killer. Prosecutors believe Neuman was having an affair with Sneiderman’s wife, Andrea.
“Andrea will tell you there was no affair. The defendant told others there was an affair. Then, he decided he was hallucinating,” DeKalb County Chief Asst. District Attorney Don Geary said.
Andrea Sneiderman cried and breathed heavily as Geary laid out his arguments in court, beginning with the morning Sneiderman dropped off his son, Ian.
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“His loving father, his buddy, his hero was savagely gunned down,” Geary said.
Police believe Neuman was disguised in a beard when he shot Sneiderman to death. Geary said he returned to work at GE Energy using visitor badges to try to avoid being tracked by electronic security and tried to pay the previous owner of his gun to keep quiet.
"It's a case of violence where a man wanted someone else's wife, so he killed her husband," said Geary.
Defense attorney Doug Peters had a different story.
“This is a story about two good men,” Peters said.
He described Neuman as a hard worker and good father who loved Andrea Sneiderman.
Peters said Neuman told him, “Andrea tells me she will never ever divorce Rusty, but I love Andrea, and I believe she loves me.”
Peters said Neuman believed Sneiderman’s children were his own and wanted to protect them from experiencing what he experienced growing up in a “good family, but a troubled family.”
Peters said Neuman suffered abuse at the hands of his father, a Holocaust survivor. He said Neuman and his sister lived a “life of terror, not knowing why their father would explode in rage.”
Later in life, Neuman faced mounting financial and marital troubles, which led to depression, Peters said. Eventually, Neuman and his wife separated.
Peters said Neuman's romantic relationship with Andrea Sneiderman developed over a series of business trips in the months leading up to the murder. During that time period, Peters said an angel appeared to Neuman, instructing him to kill Sneiderman because his children were in danger.
After her husband was killed, Peters said Andrea Sneiderman denied the affair and delayed telling officers she thought Neuman could be involved in the killing.
Peters said psychologists have found that Neuman didn’t have the capacity to distinguish right from wrong because he suffers from mania, psychosis and a delusional disorder.