Prosecutors in the murder trial against Andrea Sneiderman advanced a theory in court Friday that she had Hemy Neuman kill her husband so she could be with another man.
They announced a new addition to the state’s witness list in the case: Joseph Dell, who they alleged is Sneiderman’s live-in boyfriend.
DeKalb County Chief Assistant District Attorney Don Geary said there is evidence that the Dunwoody widow had her husband, Rusty, shot to death “not for Mr. Neuman to be with the defendant, but someone else” — Dell.
Lawyers for Sneiderman — who pleaded not guilty in August to charges of malice murder, criminal attempt to commit murder, racketeering, insurance fraud, making false statements and perjury — responded to the allegation as “an incredible fantasy.”
The prosecution’s developing theory is shared by the attorney representing the victim’s brother, Steve Sneiderman, according to a document filed Thursday in a wrongful death suit against Andrea Sneiderman.
The motion seeks to compel Sneiderman to answer questions about her relationship with Dell in hopes of determining “whether (Dell) was the ultimate reason for manipulating Neuman to kill Rusty,” according to a motion filed Thursday in Fulton County Superior Court.
Rusty Sneiderman was fatally shot in the parking lot of Dunwoody Prep in November 2010. Neuman was found guilty but mentally ill earlier this year and sentenced to life in prison. Andrea Sneiderman testified in his trial, during which prosecutors portayed him as her lover.
An attorney for Andrea Sneiderman, Tom Clegg, described Dell in court Friday as “a close friend of Mrs. Sneiderman.”
“The exact status of their relationship is best described as to be determined,” Clegg said.
But attorney Esther Panitch, representing Steve Sneiderman in the civil trial, alleges a much deeper involvement.
Panitch wrote in Thursday’s filing that Dell separated from his wife, who was six months pregnant at the time, in June 2011. Dell’s wife filed for divorce on Feb. 21, the same day Sneiderman testified in Neuman’s trial.
Sneiderman and Dell were together Aug. 2 in Lake Oconee when the mother of two was arrested and charged with conspiring to kill her husband, Panitch wrote.
The filing also references meetings between Dell and Sneiderman, who is now living at her parents’ home under house arrest, when she was being held in jail.
“Throughout the 58 recorded conversations from the DeKalb County Jail between (Andrea Sneiderman) and Mr. Dell, (the) defendant directed Mr. Dell to move in with her parents,” whom he refers to as “Mom and Dad,” it stated.
In one of their first jailhouse conversations, Dell, “apparently unaware that he was being recorded,” professes his love for Sneiderman, Panitch wrote.
Sneiderman responded, “I do not know what to say.”
Dell allegedly addressed speculation about his relationship with Sneiderman on a blog maintained by her supporters.
“I hardly knew Andrea before her husband was murdered but I have gotten to know her and her family as an extension of my own,” Dell wrote in an entry dated Sept. 28, according to the court filing.
Dell’s inclusion on the state’s witness list raises a potential conflict for Sneiderman, who is barred from interacting with anyone who may testify in her criminal trial.
Clegg told DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams that Dell provides “invaluable assistance” to Sneiderman, who is under house arrest.
“Whatever her relationship is with the gentleman, we believe it has no bearing on any issue in this particular case,” he said. “To take Mr. Dell away from her … seems inappropriate.”
Adams said he’d rule on the matter by Tuesday.
Friday’s hearing was supposed to be fairly routine, with Sneiderman seeking the judge’s approval to visit her husband’s grave on Nov. 18 — the second anniversary of his death.
The defense withdrew that request, attorney John Petrey said, due to excessive press coverage.