Neuman describes daycare shooting in taped jailhouse interview

Though he declined to take the stand, Hemy Neuman was front and center Friday as testimony wrapped up in the trial of the Dunwoody daycare shooter.

Jurors heard Neuman, in taped footage culled from two separate interviews with a state forensic psychiatrist last November, describe the shooting of Rusty Sneiderman as if it was a business problem requiring a “concept review.”

He said he originally plotted to kill Sneiderman on Nov. 10, 2010 – eight days before the 36-year-old entrepreneur was shot four times at close range in the parking lot of Dunwoody Prep.

At around 4:30 a.m. that day, Neuman said, he drove to the victim’s residence and hid behind the air conditioning unit outside the home. He planned to shoot Sneiderman after he returned from taking his young son to day care.

“I was going to sit there and wait until he came back,” Neuman said. “But they had a gas leak.”

Sneiderman, en route to dropping off his son at Dunwoody Prep, investigated the leak and discovered Neuman, who was disguised in a mustache and cap.

“I think he thought I was a homeless person,” he said.

Neuman escaped down a side path and drove away undetected. Despite failing to complete his “mission,” Neuman said he was undeterred.

“Once a plan is in place, it’s going to happen,” the former GE Energy operations manager told the psychiatrist, Dr. Pamela Crawford, the prosecution’s chief rebuttal witness.

Such rational planning, Crawford testified Friday, suggests Neuman was neither bipolar nor manic, as defense experts have claimed. The 49-year-old father of three has admitted shooting Sneiderman but has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

According to Crawford, Neuman offered “no compelling reason” why he needed to rescue Sneiderman’s children from their father, as he said he was commanded to do by apparitions described in varying ways to different doctors.

“His real mission was to get rid of Rusty Sneiderman,” Crawford said.

Neuman’s accounts of these supernatural entities and their hold over him were likewise inconsistent, the psychiatrist testified.

A “demon” who sounded like the late soul singer Barry White told Neuman to commit suicide but he never even attempted to kill himself, she noted. He did follow “orders,” however, when an angel with a voice that reminded the defendant of pop star Olivia Newton-John told him to kill Sneiderman.

‘His discussion of [the apparitions] was inconsistent,” Crawford testified. “At one point he says, ‘I know they are not real,’ then later says, ‘I just want the demons to go away.’ He’s not even consistent in the same interview. “

Neuman’s presentation was consistent with malingering, or fabricating his symptoms, she said.

Crawford also testified she found Neuman’s memory lapses convenient; he remembered almost everything except whether he had sex with the victim's widow, Andrea, who worked under him at GE.

The state presented four rebuttal witnesses Friday, including two colleagues of Neuman's who testified they did not see him acting out of character before the shooting.

The defense Monday morning will resume cross-examining the state’s last rebuttal witness, Dr. William Brickhouse, director of mental health at the DeKalb County Jail.

Closing statements are scheduled to be made Tuesday, with the jury receiving the case immediately afterward.