Hemy Neuman, a former GE Energy manager, was found guilty of murder in the shooting death of a co-worker’s husband and sentenced 90 minutes later by a Georgia judge to imprisonment for life with no possibility of parole.
A jury in Decatur, Georgia, where the killing happened in November 2010, delivered the guilty verdict today after deliberating a day and a half.
After a break, Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams began hearing arguments on the sentence. While the jury found Neuman is mentally ill, he faced a mandatory life sentence under Georgia law. The mental-illness finding means he will receive treatment.
Neuman pleaded not guilty by reason of temporary insanity in the killing of Russell “Rusty” Sneiderman, 36, the husband of a GE Energy subordinate with whom he had a relationship called an obsession by lawyers for both sides.
The judge called the crime a “for lack of a better word planned execution.” Sneiderman was killed in front of the day care center where he had dropped off his 2-year-old son.
Robert James, the DeKalb County district attorney, told the judge that Neuman “savagely gunned down” Sneiderman and deserved the sentence that Adams imposed.
“He had limitless potential which will now never be realized,” the victim’s brother, Steve, told the judge. “He was a great father. All of that love is silenced forever.”
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He urged Adams to “show him the same mercy he showed Rusty” and impose life without parole.
Neuman spoke in his own behalf.
“A lot of what Mr. Sneiderman said about Rusty Sneiderman is true,” Neuman said. “He was a good man. I am so so so sorry for their loss.”
He didn’t ask for a lighter sentence. His lawyer Doug Peters asked for the possibility of parole because of Neuman’s mental illness.
“I’m glad we brought some closure and justice to the Sneiderman family,” James, who prosecuted the case personally, said in an interview after the verdict was delivered.
Neuman and Sneiderman’s wife, Andrea, 35, had an emotional personal relationship that included trips to South Carolina and Lake Tahoe where they engaged in sexual activity, Peters told the jury in closing arguments March 13.
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Andrea Sneiderman worked for Neuman in software systems support at the company, where he was an engineer overseeing 5,000 people, according to evidence in court. She isn’t charged with a crime.
A defense forensic psychologist, Adriana Flores, testified that Neuman was delusional and didn’t know right from wrong when he shot Sneiderman four times. Neuman has bipolar disorder with psychotic episodes, Tracey Marks, a psychiatrist, testified for the defense.
He doesn’t take medication for bipolar disorder, prosecutors said in closing arguments.
Neuman was never considered so depressed that he was a suicide risk, said William Brickhouse, a psychiatrist and mental health director at the DeKalb County jail where he has been held.
The defense portrayed Neuman as an emotionally neglected and physically abused child who was sent to an Israeli boarding school at age 13 with no family support. Neuman’s doctors said he first became depressed and saw a demon when he was at boarding school.
In closing arguments, Peters, the defense attorney, called Andrea Sneiderman an “adulterer,” “evil” and a “master manipulator.”
James, the district attorney, said Neuman was in love with her and phoned her within 30 minutes of his crime to tell her what he’d done. He referred to Neuman as a “co-conspirator.”
No evidence was introduced to link Andrea Sneiderman to the murder. She testified that she didn’t have an affair with Neuman, that he “had been stalking my house for months” and that he made unwanted advances to her.
At a news conference after the sentencing, James said the investigation is continuing.
“I have to follow the evidence,” he said. “I have to follow the law. When we know something, you will know.”
Neuman was arrested two months after the killing. During the trial, jurors were shown videos of him being interviewed by a prosecution psychiatrist in which he described planning the shooting. He said a demon and an angel told him to kill Sneiderman to save Andrea Sneiderman’s children.
The case is State v. Neuman, 11CR1364-5, Georgia Superior Court, DeKalb County (Decatur).