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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Hemy Neuman Murder Case

     In the late 1980s, Hemy Neuman, a young American engineer living and working in Israel, met his future wife Ariela, an Israeli-born school teacher. In 2010 the 47-year-old engineer and his stay-at-home wife were separated. Hemy had moved out of their lavish home in Cobb County, Georgia in August of that year. While Mr. Neuman had a high-paying job as a project manager with GE Energy, he was in financial trouble. His expensive lifestyle--the big house, luxury cars, expensive restaurants and elaborate vacations--had caught up with him. His three children were also attending college. Now his wife was filing for divorce.

     Ariela Neuman had kicked Hemy out of the house because she believed he was having an affair with a 36-year-old woman he had hired at GE. Neuman and Andrea Schneiderman, his suspected lover, denied the accusation. Andrea's husband, Russell "Rusty" Schneiderman, although he had a MBA from Harvard, was out of work. The couple had two young children.

     On the morning of November 18, 2010, Rusty Schneiderman dropped off his 2-year-old son at the Dunwoody Prep nursery school 15 miles north of Atlanta. As the father returned to his car Hemy Neuman walked up behind him, and with a .40-caliber Bersa handgun, shot him several times. Schneiderman fell dead at the scene. Neuman climbed into a rented Kia minivan and drove off.

     A week before the murder, Neuman, wearing a fake beard, had crept up to Schneiderman's house with the intent of shooting him there. Hemy's plan fell apart when his intended target came out of the house to check on a gas leak and saw this bearded man lying in his yard. When spotted by his murder target, Mr. Neuman jumped to his feet and ran off.

     When Hemy Neuman's wife Ariela learned of Rusty Schneiderman's murder in front of the Dunwoody nursery school she knew that her husband had killed the victim over Mr. Schneiderman's wife Andrea. Ariela Neuman called the police and filled them in on her estranged husband's affair with the dead man's wife. Ariela described her husband as a risk-taking control freak obsessed with money and his career.

     Several weeks after the police arrested Mr. Neuman on January 4, 2011 he admitted that he had murdered Rusty Schneiderman. He claimed, however, that at the time of the shooting he was so insane he didn't comprehend the nature and quality of his act. In other words, he was so crazy he didn't know right from wrong. After the killing Hemy Neuman regained his sanity, but when he pulled the trigger in front of the nursery school he was so mentally ill he didn't know what he was doing. That was his defense, temporary legal insanity. Investigators didn't buy it and neither did the prosecutor. If Neuman was crazy he was crazy like a fox.

     In February 2012, charged with malice murder (other states call it first-degree murder or capital murder) and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, Hemy Neuman went on trial in a De Kalb County court in Decatur, Georgia.

     The prosecutor played for the jury of nine men and three women a video taped jailhouse interview of the defendant by psychiatrist Dr. Pamela Crawford. During the interview Neuman told Dr. Crawford that he had initially considered stabbing Rusty Schneiderman to death. But he changed his mind because it would be too messy. The defendant thought about poisoning his victim but rejected that idea as too complicated and unreliable. Staging a fatal accident had also crossed Neuman's mind, but in the end he settled on shooting the man to death at close range. He preferred this method because it was simple and sure-fire.

     Following the video of his interview of the defendant, Dr. Crawford testified that a truly delusional, psychotic person would not have gone through the above thought processes. A really crazy person would have acted impulsively without all of that thinking and planning. The defendant, in Dr. Crawford's expert opinion, wasn't crazy. The entire insanity defense was therefore a sham.

     For the defense, forensic psychologist Dr. Andriana Flores testified that Mr. Neuman suffered from an undiagnosed and untreated bipolar disorder accompanied by psychosis. (In other words, he had no history of mental illness.) According to the defense psychologist, Neuman suffered from delusions and a condition called erotomania. As an erotomania sufferer the defendant only thought he was having an affair with the wife of the man he shot to death.  And it got better: Before the killing, Hemy Neuman, according to Dr. Flores, had been visited by an angel who spoke in Oliva Newton-John's voice. This imagined angel had informed the defendant that Mr. Schneiderman's children were actually his. This revelation was reinforced by a message from a second angel who sounded like Barry White!

     On March 14, 2012 after two days of deliberation the jury, presented with three possible verdicts--guilty; not guilty by virtue of insanity; or guilty but mentally ill--found Hemy Neuman guilty but mentally ill. That meant that while he would receive mental health treatment, he'd get it while serving his time in prison. The next day the judge sentenced Hemy Neuman to life behind bars with no chance of parole.

     On Thursday, August 2, 2012, Andrea Sneiderman, the wife of the man Hemy Neuman had murdered, was charged with malice murder, criminal attempt to commit murder, racketeering, two counts of perjury, and two counts of insurance fraud. According the Andrea Schneiderman's indictment she and the convicted killer were having an affair. The couple had conspired to kill Rusty Schneiderman with the intent of "acquiring property, money and life insurance proceeds." The murdered man's wife had received a $2 million life insurance payment as well as $960,000 in various bank accounts.

     In July 2013, following a two-hour hearing, Judge Gregory Adams dropped the murder, racketeering and insurance fraud charges against Andrea Schneiderman. The prosecutor had lost confidence in the reliability of a key prosecution witness. She still faced thirteen other criminal charges related to the murder of her husband.

     Andrea Schneiderman, a month after the above hearing, was convicted of nine felonies in connection with the Neuman case. She did not testify on her own behalf. The jury found her guilty of four counts of perjury, three counts of giving false statements, one count of hindering the apprehension of a criminal and a count of concealing material facts.

     On August 20, 2013 at her sentencing hearing, Schneiderman's friends and family testified on her behalf. When it came her turn to speak to the court Andrea Schneiderman said, "Please let me go home to my kids. Please don't let them live without their mother." The De Kalb County District Attorney asked the judge to sentence Sneiderman to twenty years. Judge Adams sentenced her to five years in prison.

6 comments:

  1. I saw in the video of her plea to the judge that she denied ever having an affair with Hemy Neuman. Was it ever proven that she did actually have an affair with him?

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    1. Dont forget about Melony whites testimony,who solidifies that neuman told her how Andrea finally 'gave in'

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  2. The wife of the murderer, Ms. Neuman, thought her husband was having an affair with Ms. Sneiderman. A barkeeper at one of the hotels Mr. neuman and Ms. Sneiderman went to on one of the many business trips they went to together claimed they looked like newlyweds, kissing, touching and groping each other. There were 1400 phone calls between Mr. Neuman and Ms. Sneiderman in the 6 months that led up to the murder of Ms. Sneiderman's husband.

    All the aboves is that Mr. Neuman and Ms. Sniederman were likely having an affair but having an affair does not prove Ms. Sniederman had anything to do with the murder of her husband.

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  3. I think the above case proves that these days all you have to do is tell the biggest lie that you can. It is sort of the conclusion that the great dictators of the world came to when they developed the concept of propaganda. Ms. Sneiderman seemed to have pulled the wool over some people's eyes. She got off with five years and cried about not being taken away from her children. What about her poor husband? He will never get the chance to see his children again.

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  4. Mr. Fisher, thank you for this synopsis of the original trial. Can you explain why Hemy Neuman has been granted a new trial and what different outcome he is hoping for as far a sentencing is concerned?

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    1. He was granted a new trial because certain psychological records were allowed to be presented that shouldn't have been admitted. I assume he felt as though he had a chance at a Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity verdict and might as well try since he stood to lose nothing. His original verdict got him life without parole.

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