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DUNWOODY: Neuman to plead 'not guilty by reason of insanity' | News

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DUNWOODY: Neuman to plead 'not guilty by reason of insanity'
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DECATUR, Ga. -- Hemy Neuman will plead "not guilty by reason of insanity" in the death of Rusty Sneiderman, Neuman's attorney said Friday afternoon.

Pleading not guilty by reason of insanity means Hemy Neuman will admit to shooting and killing Rusty Sneiderman, but can't be held accountable because of his mental state.

Esther Panitch, the lawyer for Neuman's estranged wife Ariela, said Friday that it will be an extremely difficult thing to prove.

"We were surprised by the timing of this filing," Panitch said. "If he was allegedly insane at the time of the crime I don't know why it's taken nine-and-a-half months to file an insanity defense. I suspect there has been so much overwhelming evidence of his guilt that this might be the only thing that they feel they have."

Ariela Neuman has been saying for months that her husband was having an affair with the victim's wife, Andrea Sneiderman. Now for the first time, it appears that's what the DA's office will use as motive.

Andrea Sneiderman, Rusty Sneiderman's wife, and Neuman had an affair and their relationship motivated Neuman to kill Sneiderman's husband, an affidavit obtained by 11Alive News Friday said.

"Law enforcement has cause to believe that an extramarital affair between the defendant and the defendant's wife [sic], Andrea Sneiderman, in large part provided motive to murder Russell Sneiderman," the filing said.

The document charges what has long been alleged by Neuman's estranged wife, Ariela.

Legal experts say proving a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity is difficult. "It's a very, very tough defense," said former state and federal prosecutor Jerry Froelich. "You have to show that he didn't know the difference between right and wrong."

Froelich said he expects prosecutors to fight the defense by pointing out the alleged planning that went into the murder. Court documents say Neuman bought a gun, rented a van and donned a disguise before killing Sneiderman outside his son's day care. "Those types of things will be used by the prosecution to undercut the defense of he didn't know right from wrong," Froelich said.

Investigators from the DeKalb County District Attorney's office also obtained a search warrant to check Hemy Neuman and Andrea Sneiderman's iTunes accounts.

According to the affidavit, Neuman sent her a "gift song" for her to download via his personal account on December 28, one month after Rusty Sneiderman was murdered. The song was "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars.

Investigators even attached the complete lyrics to the song, which say in part, "Her lips, her lips, I could kiss them all day if she'd let me. Her laugh, her laugh she hates but I think it's so sexy. She's so beautiful and I tell her every day."

Neuman was arrested by Dunwoody police and charged with the murder of Sneiderman in early January. Neuman was a supervisor at GE Energy. Sneiderman's wife Andrea worked for him.

A statement from Andrea Sneiderman in February did not address speculation about her involvement with Neuman beyond their work relationship:

The murder of my husband, Rusty Sneiderman, has been devastating to me and our families. I was thankful and relieved when the police made an arrest but I was shocked to learn that the man charged with the murder, was my former boss, a person who we thought was a friend of our family.

I have been assured by the DeKalb County District Attorney's Office that Mr. Neuman is Rusty's killer and that they will do everything in their power to bring him to justice. My family and I are cooperating in any way we can to assist them in their efforts.

Andrea Sneiderman has never been arrested or changed in connection with her husband's death.

Hemy Neuman's murder trial is set to begin October 17.

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