Q&A on the News

Q: Why is Hemy Neuman, confessed killer of Rusty Sneiderman, eligible only for life in prison or a mental health facility sentence? Why can’t Neuman receive the death penalty?

—Joni Pelta, Atlanta

A: The death penalty requires meeting one of the stipulations of Georgia Code 17-10-30 (Procedure for imposition of death penalty generally), and Neuman's alleged murder of Sneiderman doesn't meet any of those, Erik Burton, a spokesman for the DeKalb County District Attorney's office, told Q&A on the News in an email. Under Georgia Code 16-5-1 (d), Neuman can be sentenced to life without parole, which is what the district attorney's office is seeking. "Whether life or life without parole is the sentence -- which is at the discretion of the judge -- it requires us to get a guilty or guilty but mentally ill verdict on the murder count," Burton said. Neuman is on trial for the shooting death of Sneiderman outside a Dunwoody day care on Nov. 18, 2010. Neuman has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Q: I didn’t realize that I could cast a vote for President Obama in Tuesday’s primary. What was the purpose of putting Obama on the ballot?

—Linda Muszynski-Compton, Atlanta

A: The Democratic Party has to be represented on the general election ballot in November, so as the president, his name was submitted by the Democratic Party to be on the primary ballot, said Matt Carrothers, spokesman for Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Even though he's president, "he still has to run," Carrothers said.

Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).