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HEMY NEUMAN | Live blog III: Closing arguments, verdict, sentencing | News

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HEMY NEUMAN | Live blog III: Closing arguments, verdict, sentencing
News

DUNWOODY, Ga. -- Our live coverage of the Hemy Neuman trial continues here.

Neuman was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing Rusty Sneiderman.

PHOTOS | The Hemy Neuman trial
PHOTOS | Judgment Day for Hemy Neuman
BLOG I | The prosecution
BLOG II | The defense
CONTINUING COVERAGE | D.A. on Andrea Sneiderman's legal fate: "Stay tuned."
MORE | Andrea Sneiderman's statement on the verdict

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POST-SENTENCING PRESS CONFERENCE

4:49 p.m - "It is clear to us that Andrea Sneiderman is covered in the blood of husband, Rusty Sneiderman," Steven Sneiderman says.

4:45 p.m. - "Our family has long suspected Andrea as playing a role in the death of our brother," Steven Sneiderman says. "We will have no peace until everyone involved in the death of Rusty Sneiderman is held accountable."

4:42 p.m. - James refused to discuss the possibility that charges against Andrea Sneiderman are forthcoming.

4:41 p.m. - "I believe and I still believe that there is nothing wrong with Hemy Neuman," James tells the media.

4:39 p.m. - "He is going to prison and he will be evaluated. From the evaluation, the state will determine if he needs to be placed on medication," Robert James says of Neuman's sentence.

4:30 p.m. - "Every day we go to sleep thinking it's a bad dream and we wake up to a nightmare," Rusty Sneiderman's brother Steven says. "Every single day, there will be a hole in our hearts and a pain where Rusty used to be."

4:29 p.m. - "This case was not about Hemy Neuman -- this case was about Rusty Sneiderman," James says.

4:27 p.m. - DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James approaches the podium. He greets the media by saying, "We've been together for a month now, and we've come to the end of our road. I want to thank God that justice has been served." 

4:23 p.m. - The defense plans to appeal for ruling. "We go where the evidence takes us; this is where the evidence took us," Rubin says.

4:19 p.m. - "I think that she should be charged with murder in the first degree," Peters says of Andrea Sneiderman. "I believe that she preyed upon [Neuman] and manipulated him to commit the crime for which she was responsible." 

4:18 p.m. - "Our position has always been that Mr. Neuman's attempt to hide or conceal himself was to shield himself from Andrea Sneiderman because he wanted to be with her," the defense tells the media.

4:16 p.m. - Defense attorney Doug Peters says he thinks the DeKalb County District Attorney's office was "very thorough" and that the state argued a very powerful case. 

4:14 p.m. - Hemy Neuman was "as good as any other person until he came in contact with Andrea Sneiderman ... We are hopeful that all of the evidence regarding her involvement in the case will be presented in court on another day at another time," the defense says.

4:12 p.m. - All four attorneys attend a post-sentencing press conference. Bob Rubin says he "respects the time and the respect that the court took to try my client's case," but he is deeply upset that the jury didn't find Neuman not guilty by reason of insanity.

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VERDICT | Thursday, March 15, 2010

3:53 p.m. - Neuman is handcuffed and taken away. The trial ends.

3:52 p.m. - Neuman is sentenced to life without parole for Count 1 (malice murder) and five years in prison to run consecutively for Count 2 (firearm possession).

3:51 p.m. - The judge describes Sneiderman's death as "a planned execution."

3:50 p.m. - Judge Adams returns and asks Neuman and his defense team to stand for sentencing.

3:38 p.m. - The judge calls for a brief recess before handing down a sentence.

3:37 p.m. - "This tragedy is one that will be at the core of [Neuman's] existence for the rest of his life," Peters says. He shares the defense team's awareness of the "deep ... sense of loss" the Sneiderman family will feel forever.

3:36 p.m. - Peters asks for leniency in sentencing due to Neuman's mental illness. He requests a sentence of life with the possibility of parole.

3:34 p.m. - Defense attorney Doug Peters lists all of the things Neuman has done well -- graduating from Georgia Tech with honors, raising three wonderful children, etc. "All of that changed in the spring of 2010, when he met and became involved with Andrea Sneiderman. We respect the jury's verdict in this case, and we appreciate the opportunity to try this case before that jury, but we respectfully disagree with the verdict. We feel that it extends the tragedy that started back during 2010, when Hemy met Andrea Sneiderman."

3:30 p.m. - "It is a tragedy for three other children -- Lee, Tom and Addie," Neuman says, referring to his own children. He says that so many people are in pain because of his conviction. "I am so, so, so sorry. I can't say it enough." He begins to cry. "I am sorry from the deepest part of me, Your Honor."

3:29 p.m. - "[Rusty] was a good man with so much ahead of him, and I am so, so, so sorry for [the Sneidermans'] loss. This is a terrible tragedy, first of all, for Sophia and Ian," Neuman says.

3:28 p.m. - Neuman stands to speak for the first time during his trial. "I prepared this statement several weeks ago to express my sense of loss for the death of Rusty Sneiderman," he says.

3:27 p.m. - "Hemy has always been a good son, and I was always proud of him ... I beg of you to have mercy on him and give him the opportunity of parole," Neuman's mother, Rebecca Cohen, says to the court.

3:24 p.m. - Steven Sneiderman requests that Neuman "never walk among us again," a sentence that would help the Sneiderman family heal in some small way. "We ask that you show him the same mercy he showed Rusty," he says.

3:23 p.m. - "Why did Rusty have to die to satisfy him?" Steven Sneiderman asks of Neuman. "Did he think he could just step into his shoes and take what was Rusty's? ... He had no right to do this. He had no right to take Rusty from us."

3:22 p.m. - "Sophia and Ian loved their father, and he adored them. Any suggestion otherwise ... is patently false and offensive," Steven Sneiderman says.

3:20 p.m. - "When is this about Rusty?" Steven Sneiderman asks, quoting his mother. He says that the trial was never about his brother because of all the lies told in court, and that the defense "shamefully equated my brother's life with that of this killer," referring to Neuman.

3:18 p.m. - "This was a senseless murder," James says and requests the judge sentence Neuman to life without parole. The victim's brother, Steven Sneiderman, approaches to speak on behalf of Rusty's family.

3:16 p.m. - The minimum sentence for malice murder in Georgia is life in prison, James says. "The only thing we have to offer in aggravation are the facts in this case, and we believe that is sufficient," he tells the judge.

3:14 p.m. - Judge Adams returns to the courtroom to give Neuman his sentence.

3:04 p.m. - Hemy Neuman returns to the courtroom to learn his sentence.

2:31 p.m. - DeKalb County D.A. Robert James requests that sentencing happen today, as the Sneiderman family has traveled from out of town for the trial. Defense attorney Doug Peters asks for a recess. Judge Adams agrees to go forward with sentencing at 3 p.m.

2:30 p.m. - The state and defense give Judge Adams permission to release the jury.

2:29 p.m. - So far, every juror polled agrees that this is his or her verdict, freely and voluntarily made. Rusty Sneiderman's father cries in the gallery.

2:27 p.m. - The defense asks Judge Adams to poll the jury.

2:26 p.m. - "Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but mentally ill." The forewoman's voice cracks as she reads this verdict for the charge of malice murder in the death of Rusty Sneiderman. Neuman is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for possessing a weapon.

2:25 p.m. - The jury enters the courtroom to read the verdict.

2:22 p.m. - Judge Adams arrives and court is officially underway. The judge reminds the court to remain professional and suggest that those who cannot contain their emotions should wait outside the courtroom.

2:21 p.m. - Hemy Neuman enters the courtroom to hear the verdict.

2:18 p.m. - Neuman's defense team arrives.

2:16 p.m. - Hemy Neuman's mother arrives.

1:55 p.m. - Members of victim Rusty Sneiderman's family enter the courtroom to hear the verdict.

1:45 p.m. - A representative from DeKalb County announces that a verdict has been reached in the Hemy Neuman trial.

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CLOSING ARGUMENTS | Tuesday, March 13, 2012

3:50 p.m. - The jury is sent to the jury room to begin deliberation.

3:23 p.m. - Judge Adams calls in the jury to give them instructions for reaching a verdict.

3:01 p.m. - The state finishes its closing argument.

2:56 p.m. - James shows a picture of Rusty Sneiderman, who he describes as "a real man," and lists the things that he will never be able to do. He then counters the picture with an image of Sneiderman's wounds after the shooting.

2:51 p.m. - "This was an extremely well-planned murder," James says. He shows Neuman's thought process in the form of a chapter book, describing the entire situation as "an exercise in the ridiculous."

2:45 p.m. - "Hemy didn't hide his crime from Andrea because Andrea already knew," James says. "He's not crazy. He's a co-conspirator."

2:41 p.m. - "No one would ever think to look for the killer at Rusty's gravesite," James says, which is why Neuman attended Sneiderman's funeral and shiva. "It was ingenious, but it was evil."

2:35 p.m. - Neuman most certainly knew right from wrong when he killed Sneiderman, James says, and "that makes him guilty, that makes him guilty, that makes him guilty all day, every day."

2:31 p.m. - Neuman's actions in the months preceding the murder were not the actions of a man who believed two innocent children were in imminent danger, James says. "That's motive -- that's not insanity," he adds.

2:28 p.m. - When speaking with psychiatrists, Neuman claimed to have three children -- his biological children with wife Ariela; nowhere did he mention being the father of Sophia and Ian Sneiderman, James says.

2:23 p.m. - Neuman never would've killed himself because he wanted Rusty Sneiderman's money, wife and life too badly, James says.

2:10 p.m. - The defense's argument hinges on Neuman's abusive childhood, James says, but no evidence was ever offered that Neuman was abused so badly by his father that he became insane or bipolar.

2:03 p.m. - "If you can't trust the ingredients on the insanity sandwich, then I'm going to ask you -- don't eat it," James says. "This man right here [Neuman] is guilty all day, every day." 

1:54 p.m. - James outlines the ways he says Neuman's story expanded as he talked to more psychologists and began showing more evidence of malingering.

1:43 p.m. - Using a cooking analogy, James says that something about Neuman's defense "doesn't smell right," that the jury "shouldn't trust the cook" and that Neuman is guilty.

1:40 p.m. - James recaps all of the witnesses called by the prosecution and says that nothing in their testimonies proves Neuman was insane. "Is it possible to lie any more than this human being has already lied?" he asks while pointing to Neuman.

1:34 pm. - James compares the state's 8,000 pages of documents to the "anemic" 80 pages offered by the defense. He notes that Neuman's parents, his bipolar aunt and some of the therapists who spoke with him before the murder did not testify during his trial.

1:32 p.m. - James describes Neuman's plea as "an insanity sandwich ... with a side of French-fried lies ... but can you trust the cook, and can you trust what's in the sandwich?"

1:22 p.m. - James breaks down Neuman's "affirmative defense," explaining that the defendant admitted to killing Sneiderman but considers the crime justified because of his insanity -- "the devil made me do it, so [the jury] should say it's excused."

1:18 p.m. - District Attorney Robert James begins his argument by calling Neuman "a co-conspirator." He killed Rusty Sneiderman to get his money and his wife -- "and that, ladies and gentlemen, is not insanity."

1:15 p.m. - The trial resumes with the state preparing to give its closing arguments.

11:41 a.m. - Judge Adams calls for a lunch break.

11:38 a.m. - "Nothing can undo this tragedy. It can only be made more tragic by a verdict that does not speak the truth," Peters tells the jury. The defense finishes its closing arguments.

11:34 a.m. - Peters speaks to the jury members about the importance of returning "a verdict that speaks of the truth ... It's not easy to do the right thing," he says. "The gun was in Hemy's hand, but the trigger, I respectfully suggest, was pulled by Andrea Sneiderman." He says that Hemy was used and manipulated, and a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity places the blame on the true perpetrator: Andrea Sneiderman.

11:24 a.m. - Peters reminds the jury of the moment where Andrea Sneiderman hugged Shayna Citron and the fact that it was the last time the widow was allowed in the courtroom. "Andrea Sneiderman is playing each one of us for a damn fool," he says.

11:19 a.m. - Peters says the fact that Andrea Sneiderman did not go to the police when she knew that Neuman killed her husband speaks volumes.

11:12 a.m. - "I have never seen such unadulterated lies in my life," Peters says while rereading Andrea Sneiderman's testimony and police interviews.

11:08 a.m. - "If you think for a second ... that Andrea Sneiderman did not manipulate Hemy ... then I think you are not taking a reasonable look at the case," Peters tells the jury.

11 a.m. - "Are you telling me that she didn't understand that he was losing his mind?" Peters asks the jury, citing the email Andrea Sneiderman sent Neuman which said she was happy to hear that he was ending his marriage to Ariela. "Andrea knew that Hemy was losing his mind. No one else did. Andrea knew."

10:53 a.m. - Delusional people can pursue the objects of their affection to save them from perceived dangers, Peters says, adding that this "fits like a glove for what Hemy is experiencing" with Andrea Sneiderman and her children.

10:47 a.m. - Andrea Sneiderman led Neuman on by allowing him to kiss her and give her foot rubs, and saying that she had feelings for him but had no intention of leaving Rusty, Peters says.

10:37 a.m. - Peters says this case is actually about "one bad -- really bad -- woman: Andrea Sneiderman." He describes her as calculating, a tease, a liar and a master manipulator, and suggests that her picture should be placed in Webster's Dictionary under "evil."

10:34 a.m. - After a brief break, defense attorney Doug Peters stands to make his argument in "this case ... about two good men."

10:20 a.m. - Rubin thanks the jury members for their attention throughout the case and says "at the end of the day, we have shown by preponderance of evidence that Hemy Neuman is not guilty by reason of insanity." Rubin finishes his closing argument.

10:18 a.m. - "Some of you may be concerned ... that Hemy will walk out the door" if he is found not guilty by reason of insanity, Rubin says to the jury. He confirms that if this verdict is read, Neuman will be sent to a mental health facility and may never be released.

10:15 a.m. - Rubin says the fact that Neuman kept a stash of razor blades in his cell at the DeKalb County Jail indicates he is bipolar, as suicidal tendencies are a mark of bipolar disorder, yet Dr. Jerome Brickhouse insisted Neuman wasn't bipolar.

10:06 a.m. - "All the tests [run by Drs. Flores and Marks] corroborate that Hemy Neuman is not faking" and not malingering, Rubin says, which confirms that Neuman does indeed have delusions and bipolar disorder. Dr. Pam Crawford, meanwhile, did not perform tests on Neuman or try to contact Drs. Flores and Marks -- "You say he's malingering, but you don't have one single test to back it up," Rubin says.

10:02 a.m. - The presence of bipolar disorder in Neuman's family is significant as well, Rubin says -- Drs. Flores and Marks thought this was important, while state witness Dr. Pam Crawford did not.

10:01 a.m. - Rubin continues addressing significant manic events in Neuman's life, including moving his family from Israel to Boca Raton, Fla., and cashing out his pension to purchase things like landscaping for his home and jewelry for wife Ariela.

9:54 a.m. - "The fear of being abandoned, the trauma of being alone" deeply affected Neuman, Rubin says, describing the day the defendant was sent to boarding school in Israel at age 13. Now, more than 30 years later, it still pains Neuman to talk about it.

9:49 a.m. - "The centerpiece of this case is Hemy Neuman's childhood," Rubin says. Why do we care? "What happens to us as children molds us," he says, noting that Neuman's difficult childhood contributed to his psychological problems.

9:44 a.m. - Rubin says that the defense did not tell the psychologists who evaluated Neuman to find the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity -- rather, these professionals reached their opinions on their own after interviewing Neuman. They "staked their reputations" on their testimonies that Neuman is mentally ill, Rubin says.

9:31 a.m. - Rubin reminds the jury of Georgia's law for defining insanity.

9:28 a.m. - Defense attorney Bob Rubin approaches the stand to begin his closing argument.

9:24 a.m. - Judge Adams calls for no outbursts from the gallery during closing arguments -- no "cheering or making any type of 'amens.'"

9:07 a.m. - Judge Adams denies the state's request to place restrictions on references to punishment in the closing arguments.

9 a.m. - The defense will give its closing arguments first.

8:58 a.m. - Hemy Neuman enters the courtroom for what may be the final day of his trial.

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