July 19, 2019
Jewish Atlanta was once again rocked by the Hemy Zvi Neuman murder scandal when Neuman requested another trial in July.
On Nov. 18, 2010, Russell “Rusty” Sneiderman was shot and killed outside his child’s preschool. Hemy Neuman, the boss of Sneiderman’s widow, Andrea, was arrested for the murder. The families involved were prominent members of the Jewish community, as Neuman’s now ex-wife Ariela Barkoni was a teacher at The Epstein School and the Sneidermans were members of Congregation Or Hadash.
On March 15, 2012, Neuman was found guilty, but mentally ill, of malice murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole and another five years for the felony weapons charge. Four years later, he was found guilty again after a retrial, without the acceptance of an insanity claim, and sentenced again to life in prison without parole.
This year he asked for another trial, claiming mental illness caused by his love for his victim’s wife, Andrea. She was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for her testimony about her relationship with Neuman during his first trial. The 2012 trial was painful, severing long-term friendships when members of the Jewish community were called to testify. Threats and hate mail were sent to an attorney.
This new development in the case is reopening old wounds. “First of all, it was a Jewish man murdering another Jewish man in front of his kid’s daycare,” attorney Esther Panitch told the AJT. “Then sides were quickly taken” when details of the affair became public knowledge. “No one wants to relive this nightmare.”
Panitch, of The Panitch Law Group, represented Neuman’s ex-wife in their divorce and the family of the deceased in a wrongful death case against Andrea Sneiderman.
“It was a very painful episode in the history of the Jewish community in Atlanta that broke long-term friendships,” said one prominent Atlanta Jewish leader who asked not to be named. “It divided the whole community.”
On July 31, Neuman’s request for a new trial was denied.
“The Court further ﬁnds that after weighing the evidence and the credibility of the witnesses, the verdict was not contrary to the weight of the evidence such that a miscarriage of justice resulted,” Dekalb County Superior Court Judge Gregory A. Adams wrote.
Barring an appeal, it seems likely this will be the last development in the Hemy Neuman saga.