By Don Plummer
The lawyer for the wife of accused killer Hemy Neuman has filed a notice of legal separation from Neuman, accusing him of engaging in an adulterous affair.
The other party in the alleged affair was not named, but the lawyer is seeking to depose Andrea Sneiderman, the widow of Russell “Rusty” Sneiderman.
Neuman, a Dunwoody executive, was arrested Jan. 4 and charged with slaying Sneiderman, a Dunwoody businessman, who was shot and killed at Dunwoody Prep day care center on Nov. 18.
Ester Panitch, the attorney for Neuman’s wife, Ariela, filed the notice of legal separation on March 7.
Neuman, a native of Israel, earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering with honors from Georgia Tech in 1984 before going to work at General Electric in 11 years ago. Neuman’s defense lawyers say their client has been married for more than 20 years and has two children who also attend Georgia Tech and another still in high school, and has stayed in touch with his children from the DeKalb County Jail where he is being held without bond.
But Panitch said the couple was estranged in the weeks leading up to the shooting.
“They were separated at the time of the murder,” said Panitch of the Panitch Law Group. Panitch said the couple has been married for 22 years. Police said Neuman was living in Buckhead, not at his family’s Marietta home, at the time of his January arrest.
After Neuman’s indictment, Andrea Sneiderman released a written statement. “The murder of my husband, Rusty Sneiderman, has been devastating to me and our families,” she said. “I was thankful and relieved when the police made an arrest, but I was shocked to learn that the man charged with the murder was my former boss, a person who we thought was a friend of our family.
“I have been assured by the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office that Mr. Neuman is Rusty’s killer and that they will do everything in their power to bring him to justice. My family and I are cooperating in any way we can to assist them in their efforts,” the statement concluded.
Neuman’s next court appearance is set for April 4.
Prosecutors have filed a request that DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams, who will hear Neuman’s case, sentence Neuman to life without parole if convicted of Sneiderman’s murder.
Andrea Sneiderman has not been implicated by police in her husband’s death.
Police and prosecutors remain mum about why Sneiderman was gunned down as he returned to his car after dropping off his 2-year-old son at the Dunwoody preschool.
A search warrant request filed in the slaying of the 36-year-old Harvard educated business consultant seeks e-mail and cell phone records of a man arrested for the crime and those of Andrea Sneiderman.
The warrant application says, “Investigation revealed that there was continuous communication between Andrea Sneiderman and the defendant before and after the homicide.”
Neuman, who supervised Andrea Sneiderman in GE Energy’s quality and engineering department at the GE Energy campus in Cobb County, was among the mourners attending Shiva at Rusty Sneiderman’s home after his burial, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The slaying of the father of two stunned Dunwoody residents, foremost because it had all the earmarks of a professional hit.
Based on evidence from witnesses and surveillance video, police spokesman Sgt. Mike Carlson said Sneiderman was approached by a gunman in the parking lot of the Dunwoody Prep Preschool on Nov. 18 and shot several times. The shooter had been last seen traveling west in what was initially described as a silver Dodge Minivan, Carlson said.
Six weeks later, news of Neuman’s arrest did little to resolve the mystery. Less than a week after the Jan. 4 arrest, DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James announced a DeKalb grand jury had indicted Neuman.
The rapid indictment for malice murder and firearms charges allowed prosecutors to avoid a probable cause court hearing, at which police would have had to explain why they believed Neuman was guilty.
However, recent court documents reveal new details on the case. Neuman arrived early for work the day Sneiderman was killed. He left the office before the slaying and returned after, according to the affidavit.
Neuman rented a silver Kia Sedona the day before the slaying and returned it on Nov. 18, after the slaying had occurred, the search warrant affidavit says.
The man who killed Sneiderman was described by witnesses as having a beard, which was described by some witnesses as possibly fake.
After Neuman’s rental vehicle was located, it was processed for evidence by crime scene investigators. A synthetic hair was found in the vehicle, according to the affidavit.
But all accounts confirm that the suspect and victim had led lives that gave no hint of violence.
Sneiderman, according to a friend, had an MBA from Harvard and had been a financial consultant for the Atlanta division of JP Morgan Chase & Co. Private Bank. Sneiderman, who was active in charities, had recently begun a business venture.