Hemy Neuman conviction overturned; re-trial forthcoming

Channel 2's Mike Petchenik reports

Citing a violation of attorney-client privilege, Georgia's Supreme Court on Monday announced it has reversed the conviction of Hemy Neuman, who was found guilty but mentally ill of the 2010 murder of Russell "Rusty" Sneiderman outside a Dunwoody daycare center.

The state will re-try the case, said DeKalb County District Attorney spokesman Erik Burton.

“Since Mr. Neuman’s request for bond was denied prior to trial, he will remain in custody,” Burton said in a statement. “Mr. Neuman would have the right to seek reconsideration of the denial of his bond at which time it would be up to (DeKalb Superior Court) Judge (Gregory A.) Adams to grant or deny such request.”

“The families of the victims of Hemy will handle this setback as they have every other in this painful saga, with dignity and grace,” said attorney Esther Panitch, who represented Neuman’s former wife Reli and, later, Rusty Sneiderman’s parents and brother.

Neuman co-counsel Bob Rubin was in Israel on vacation when he received the news from an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter.

“That’s unbelievable,” said Rubin by phone from the shores of the Sea of Galilee. “I thought Judge Adams was pushed into some bad decisions by the prosecution.”

The court, by a 6-1 decision, concurred.

While the evidence "was sufficient to enable a rational trier of fact to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Neuman was guilty of the crimes of which he was convicted," the court found Adams erred by allowing in as evidence the notes and records of two mental health experts who examined the former GE Energy executive before trial.

“Because the trial court erred in admitting evidence, which was protected by the attorney-client privilege, we now reverse,” Justice Carol Hunstein writes for the majority.

Neuman is currently serving a life sentence without parole.

If he decides to testify at his re-trial it could impact his alleged mistress, Andrea Sneiderman, whose testimony in Neuman's trial was later found to be perjured and formed the basis of his appeal. She has consistently denied any romantic involvement with Neuman.

Sneiderman’s attorney, Brian Steel, said it’s safe to assume his client would not testify at Neuman’s re-trial.

He called the Supreme Court’s decision, “a great opinion by a great court. I hope the Court of Appeals of Georgia reverses Mrs. Sneiderman’s convictions and sentences.”

Sneiderman is under parole supervision until August 2017. The Dunwoody widow, once implicated in her husband's death, was convicted of perjury and hindering the apprehension of a killer and served 10 months in prison.

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