Dunwoody day-care shooter trial | Day 1

The state began presenting evidence Tuesday in the trial of Hemy Neuman, charged in the November 2010 death of Dunwoody businessman Rusty Sneiderman. Day One of the trial focused squarely on the victim’s widow, Andrea Sneiderman, who both the state and the defense alleged was romantically involved with the man who has acknowledged fatally shooting her husband. Sneiderman – the first witness called by the DeKalb County District Attorney’s office – adamantly denied having an affair with Neuman, her supervisor at GE Energy. Opening statements were delivered Tuesday morning by Doug Peters for the defense and Don Geary for the prosecution.

For background on the story, read here.

Here's ajc.com's minute-by-minute coverage:

4:57 p.m.: After the defense attorney asked detailed questions about Rusty and Andrea Sneiderman's work history, the judge ended the trial for the day.

4:25 p.m.: After a brief break, defense cross-examination began. The defense attorney is Bob Rubin.

3:57 p.m.: "There was no affair!" a defiant Andrea Sneiderman said.

3:50 p.m. Prosecutor Geary asked Sneiderman if she had told a girlfriend in late December 2010 that she knew that Hemy Neuman had killed her husband. She said 'yes,' and no, she did not relay that message to police. She also mentioned that Neuman had followed her to Florida while she was there with her family on what would have been her 10th wedding anniversary.

3:40: The prosecutor asked Sneiderman if she remembered calling Neuman when she was first called and told that something had happened to her husband, Rusty.  "I don't recall, but evidently I tried to call Hemy," but that was normal to call your boss to let him know something had happened and I needed to leave, she said. She was asked why she didn't call her husband since she didn't know what had happened, only that something had happened. "Why didn't you call Rusty?" she was asked. "I don't know why I didn't call him," she said.

3:35 p.m. Sneiderman said Neuman came to her home on the evening of Nov. 16 to discuss a GE project. The prosecutor asked if at that point, Rusty Sneiderman or GE knew about Neuman's unwanted advances toward her. Andrea Sneiderman said no.

3:30 p.m.: Next, the prosecutor asked her about a Nov. 10 incident,when Rusty Sneiderman called her at work to report that someone was on the side of her house and that he had called police. Andrea Sneiderman noted that she found out later that the man was Neuman. He obviously had been stalking my house for weeks, she said.

3:25 p.m.: Sneiderman said about that time Neuman told her and others that he had left his home. Around that time, she said she and Neuman took another trip to Greenville, S.C., together. She said during that trip they went to a night club and she danced alone first and then he joined her on the dance floor and twirled her. She denied that she kissed Neuman on the dance floor. She said they had adjoining rooms. She said they did not spend time in each other's room. She said she didn't later recall Neuman ever texting her about attending a gun show in Dalton.

3:15 p.m.: When asked about her home life at that time, Sneiderman said it was stressful. She said she and Rusty Sneiderman had stressful conversations about the hours she was asked to work and the travel taking so much of her time.

3 p.m. Sneiderman was in the process of explaining an email that appears to suggest that she booked a single room for she and Neuman in England. The judge then called for a 10-minute break.

2:50 p.m.: After that, Sneiderman said she went on a week-long trip to England on GE business. Neuman went along on the trip. In one email, Neuman suggested they go to a dance club in England and it ends with 'I love you and marry me.' Her email response: The dance club "was a great idea." She then noted that she didn't go to a dance club with Neuman. "I realized every situation he put me in was a convenient situation for him to get what he wanted, to get me to spend time with him." Sneiderman said she realized in England it was wrong. She said she cared about Neuman. She said Neuman was good at manipulating her into caring about him. She said she and Neuman traveled together to a castle in Scotland.

2:45 p.m.: Sneiderman denied that she and Neuman woke up together in Denver, as was alluded to in one of Neuman's emails. She said she spoke to him when he said he loved her and asked her to marry him in emails and told him to stop the behavior.  She said he went back to acting like a friend to her.

2:40 p.m.: Sneiderman admitted to holding hands with Neuman during the trip to Greenville, S.C.. She called it a 'betrayal' in angry emails to Neuman later.

2:25 p.m.: Sneiderman said she did not recall asking hotel staff to change her room to one with a larger bed. She said she picked up Neuman from the airport and changed her flight to the same as his on the return flight home. She also testified about a trip she and Neuman took together to Greenville, S.C.

2:15 p.m. Sneiderman said she did not recall emails from Neuman concerning chocolates and flowers left for her in her room in Colorado. She said she didn't recall her response to the emails, which read: "So thoughtful, so sweet. I knew you'd try something like this," according to court documents.

2:10 p.m. Sneiderman testified that when she traveled on GE business to Longmont, Colo., Neuman showed up there without her knowledge or consent.

2:05 p.m: Sneiderman said she was required by Neuman to visit job sites and he gave her the impression that he was required to go on those visits as well. She later realized that he went on those visits to spend time with her. She said that bothered her, but she did not report Neuman's unwanted advances to anyone at work because she feared she would be fired.

2 p.m.: Sneiderman said Neuman first expressed deeper feelings than just friendship to her during a business trip to Nevada when he read a poem to her before dinner.

1:55 p.m.: Upon questioning, she said Neuman never mentioned hallucinations, demons or angels. He never acted illogical or irrational, Sneiderman said. She described Neuman as an "extremely stable person."

1:50 p.m.: Sneiderman said she and Neuman traveled together on business trips for General Electric and discussed each other's personal lives. She said she considered him a friend. She described him as extremely friendly, caring and highly motivated to succeed.

1:40 p.m.: The judge denied the request. Andrea Sneiderman was called to testify.

1:30 p.m.: The trial resumed after a lunch break. Before the jury returned, Andrea Sneiderman's attorney asked that her testimony not be televised to protect her children and to protect Andrea Sneiderman because of the possible "salacious" nature of the testimony.

11:55 a.m.: Peters asked jurors to return a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. Court took a break for lunch.

11:50 a.m.: Peters said doctors who evaluated Neuman diagnosed him as being bipolar and suffering from mania and psychosis. They also said he has a delusional disorder. Peters said Neuman thought Rusty Sneiderman's two children were his and that he was protecting the children from Sneiderman when he killed him. Neuman could not distinguish between right and wrong, Peters told jurors.

11:45 a.m.: Short break ended. Neuman's attorney Doug Peters said he would outline two areas for jurors -- insurance payments to Andrea Sneiderman and doctors who did evaluations in the case.

11:27 a.m.: Defense attorney Doug Peters detailed phone records between Hemy Neuman and Andrea Sneiderman, the victim's widow. On the night before the shooting, they exchanged three calls, the last of which was 18 minutes, Peters said. The next day, police were called at 9:16 a.m. about the shooting at Dunwoody Prep. At 9:27 a.m., 11 minutes after that, Andrea Sneiderman started calling Neuman, Peters said. "In the first hour while she is on the way to the hospital ... she calls Hemy six times," he said.

11:00 a.m.: The defense focused on their client's relationship with Rusty Sneiderman's widow.

10:15 a.m.: The defense began its opening statement. Neuman's attorney Doug Peters said his client is "from a good family, but a troubled family," calling him "a hard worker, but a great father."

Peters framed Neuman's state of mind: "When I shot Rusty and I killed him, it was to protect Ian and Sofia [Sneiderman's children]. I believe Ian and Sofia are my children and I want to raise them."

More from Peters: "I love Andrea and I believe Andrea loves me. And with Rusty gone, we can be married. And we can be together forever."

Why did the shooting happen? According to Peters, "the why begins with Hemy’s father, Mark Neuman," who is 90. He was not present in the courtroom. Peters detailed his client's abusive upbringing, which he traced to April 1944, when "11 members of [Neuman's] family were marched into a gas chamber at Auschwitz. The only two to escape were Mark Neuman and his brother Sam."

Mark Neuman "never recovered from that. He’s been described as an emotional wasteland," Peters said.

Peters: "I want to take you back to February 2010. I want to tell you about Hemy at that month and that year."

"Hemy’s financial problems have mounted. He found himself at a point where his home was going to be foreclosed on and he’d have to declare bankruptcy. For a man in his position, that would be devastating.”

"Depression was settling in, and for first time in his career," his performance evaluation was negative, Peters said.

“The stress, the marital problems had taken their toll," he said.

Driving to Greenville, Neuman again felt the presence of the demon which first visited him in boarding school, according to Peters.

9:19 a.m..: Prosecutor Don Geary presented the state's opening statement before a packed courthouse of family and friends. He took on Neuman's insanity defense.

Geary talked of Neuman's responsibilities as a GE supervisor, and detailed his credentials and background.

"Andrea will tell you the defendant made a pass at her," Geary said. "The defendant told others there was an affair. Then he decided to say maybe he was just hallucinating."

In the summer of 2010, the defendant will tell you he was visited by a demon resembling Barry White who told him to kill himself, Geary said. Also, an angel who looked like, sounded like Olivia Newton-John, told him Andrea's children were his children, even though he had a vasectomy years ago, Geary said.

"On Nov. 10, early morning, after Andrea has left, [Neuman] approaches the Sneiderman residence," Geary said. "What he didn't know that morning is the Sneiderman residence had a gas leak. Rusty startled him and, not knowing the difference between right and wrong, he ran."

Neuman, having been spotted, bought a new disguise. On the day before Sneiderman's slaying, Neuman rented a car.

He arrived at work early, a little after 5:30 a.m., the morning of the shooting, Geary said. Neuman left the building down the  stairs and out an unmanned exit just before 6 a.m., according to the prosecution.

"He leaves his cell phone [at GE Energy] for an alibi," Geary said.

Geary said Neuman lay in wait for Sneiderman at Dunwoody Prep, then shot him three times.

"As Rusty falls, the defendant's not satisfied. He walks up in near contact, he puts [the gun] to Rusty's neck and fires again. Then this man who didn't know the difference between right and wrong goes to his van and drives off quickly, to be lost in the morning rush hour."

Rusty's injuries were just too much, according to a doctor at the scene quoted by Geary.

When Neuman returned to work after the shooting, Geary said, GE colleagues didn't notice him acting strangely.