Hemy Neuman, driven in part by Andrea Sneiderman’s concerns about her two young children, fatally shot their father in order to protect them, a defense expert testified Monday.
But in a relentless cross-examination, prosecutor Don Geary repeatedly questioned forensic psychologist Adriana Flores’ methods and conclusions, saying, “[Neuman]’s mission was Andrea, not the kids.”
“Where do you get that he didn’t know right from wrong?” Geary asked. “Did you find any independent confirmation of hallucinations?”
Flores said she did not.
Neuman, who was Andrea Sneiderman’s supervisor at GE Energy, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the November 2010 fatal shooting of the woman’s husband, Rusty Sneiderman, outside a Dunwoody daycare. Neuman's attorneys have acknowledged he was the shooter.
Flores said she based her evaluation on “years of treatment of mentally ill people” along with the nine hours she spent interviewing Neuman.
When pressed, Flores acknowledged that she could be wrong.
Earlier, she had testified that Neuman thought killing Rusty Sneiderman was “the right thing to do” because of “comments Andrea made about the children that made him think [they] were in danger.”
The defendant’s troubled childhood also helped trigger the Bipolar 1 Disorder that clouded his ability to distinguish between right and wrong, Flores said.
A second defense expert, forensic psychiatrist Tracey Marks, also testified Monday, saying she had diagnosed Neuman as bipolar, adding he suffered from mania and delusion.
Flores said that Neuman came to believe the Sneiderman children were his own. This led him to tell Andrea Sneiderman, “If you search the world over, there is no better father to [her children] than me,” Flores said.
Sneiderman told him she would never leave her husband, Flores testified, though she shared more and more information about her children, telling Neuman they were "shying away" from their father.
Flores concluded, “Everything points to the fact that he was insane at the time he shot Rusty Sneiderman."
But, Geary argued, that didn't stop Neuman from renting a car, buying a disguise and lying to police about whether he was at the scene. Flores said he did all that because he didn't want Andrea Sneiderman to know he was involved in the shooting.
Geary, noting that Flores didn’t review the entire case file, said she overlooked contradictory testimony, including an admission by Neuman to a psychiatric evaluator that “he knew [the shooting] was wrong.”
“I believe I had sufficient information to arrive at my opinion,” Flores said.
Geary went on to question the testing she used to diagnose Neuman, saying the MCMI-III exam has been criticized in publications such as the American Journal of Forensic Psychology.
Court is in recess until Thursday for reasons unrelated to the Neuman trial.