DUNWOODY, Ga.,None - Prosecutors asked a judge in a high-profile Dunwoody murder case on Wednesday to allow them to question an expert who was originally hired by the defense team.
Hemy Neuman's attorneys are fighting to keep that psychologist's findings from being made public.
"Three questions sir," Chief Assistant District Attorney Don Geary asked of the judge, "Did he do an evaluation? Counsel's indicated he did. Did he reach an opinion in that evaluation? Counsel's indicated he did. What was that opinion?"
Defense attorneys acknowledge that Dr. Peter Thomas evaluated Neuman, but they chose not to use his findings at trial, or share them with prosecutors.
Thomas was present in the courtroom as defense attorneys argued that his opinion about Neuman's sanity should fall under attorney-client privilege, because the attorneys hired Thomas.
"Mr. Neuman specifically was told that what he told Dr. Thomas would not be disclosed to anyone but the defense team," said defense attorney Bob Rubin.
Neuman has admitted to shooting and killing Rusty Sneiderman in the parking lot of the Dunwoody Prep preschool in Nov. 2010. But Neuman is claiming he was insane and the defense team has hired doctors, other than Thomas, to testify that Neuman did not know right from wrong at the time of the shooting.
"When he chooses to produce some, but not all of the experts at trial, he waives the privilege on all of the others he doesn't choose to call," said Geary.
Channel 2 Action News report Jodie Fleischer filed an open records request for Neuman's visitation logs at the DeKalb County jail. The records show Peter Thomas spent more than five hours testing Neuman last May.
"Are you implying he did not do an evaluation?" Judge Gregory Adams asked.
"I'm stating that he did not do an evaluation for the purpose of testifying in court," replied Rubin.
- Apology email from Neuman shows state of mind before fatal shooting
- Encounter between suspect, murder victim heard in 911 call
- Neuman lawyer: "He is the one who did the shooting"
The defense attorneys didn't say what Thomas's findings were, only why he was hired.
"We needed the help of a professional who could tell us what we were grappling with. It was never intended he'd be a witness in this case," said Rubin.
The judge will likely issue a ruling sometime next week.
The murder trial is scheduled to begin in February.
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