Defense Rests In Neuman Murder Case
DEKALB CO – (WAOK/AJC) Testimony concluded Monday in the Dunwoody daycare shooting trial after jurors saw videotaped testimony of defendant Hemy Neuman describing a traumatic childhood incident that, his attorneys contend, helped trigger the mental disorder that led him to kill Rusty Sneiderman. In the video, Neuman, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, seemed to choke back tears as he told forensic psychiatrist Pamela Crawford, a prosecution witness, how he was “terrified” when he first arrived an Israeli boarding school where, he says, he had to fend for himself. Psychiatrist Dr. Tracey Marks, a defense witness who testified Neuman suffers from bipolar disorder, said Monday that Neuman’s statements to Crawford were consistent with what he told her, disputing prosecution claims that the former GE engineer was malingering, or faking his mental illness. But a prosecution witness disagreed Monday that Neuman was suffering from bipolar disorder. “I never saw it, and none of the notes from the medical staff indicate it, the chief psychiatrist didn’t see it,” testified William Brickhouse, mental health director of the DeKalb County Jail, who has observed and interacted with Neuman during the past 14 months. Neuman was arrested on Jan. 4, 2011. Under cross-examination, Brickhouse acknowledged that he found razor blades in Neuman’s cell after the defendant had told him he was contemplating suicide. But Brickhouse said he did not believe Neuman would actually go through with it. Marks testified that while she would have expected Neuman to show some signs of bipolar disorder during his incarceration, the absence of symptoms doesn’t necessarily indicate malingering. “With bipolar disorder, with any mood disorder, there is a period of time … in between episodes,” Marks said. “Someone can go a year or two years without symptoms, that’s what happens.” The defense says Neuman did not know right from wrong when he shot Sneiderman four times at close range after he dropped off his son at Dunwoody Prep on Nov. 18, 2010. An “angel” told Neuman that he had “to protect [Sneiderman’s two young children] from suffering the same fate he did as a child in terms of being abandoned or rejected,” Marks testified last week. Evidence revealed that Neuman was in love with Sneiderman’s wife, Andrea, who worked under him at GE. He eventually came to believe the Sneiderman children were his, Marks testified, though Andrea Sneiderman told him she would not leave her husband. “I don’t know … I feel like these are my children, I feel like I need to be there for them, I need to raise them and I need to protect them, but I don’t know,” Neuman said in the jailhouse interview when Crawford asked if he was the biological father of the Sneiderman children. Marks said Neuman’s answers did not appear scripted and were consistent with previous statements he had given. Crawford testified Friday that Neuman offered “no compelling reason” why he needed to rescue Sneiderman’s children from their father. “His real mission was to get rid of Rusty Sneiderman” so he could be with the Dunwoody entrepreneur’s wife, said Crawford, adding she did not believe Andrea Sneiderman’s denials of an affair with Neuman.