In the sensational Dunwoody day care shooting trial, the defense for accused killer Hemy Neuman says his delusions caused him to slay the husband of one of his employees — and that his romantic involvement with the victim's wife was far from fantasy.
Neuman, 49, is accused of shooting and killing 36-year-old Rusty Sneiderman outside Sneiderman's son's day care center in Dunwoody, Ga., a suburban community outside Atlanta.
Neuman attorney Doug Peters told a Dekalb County court his "sick" client was driven to shoot the father of two out of feelings toward Sneiderman's wife, Andrea, reported NBC's Than Truong on TODAY Friday.
Andrea Sneiderman, who worked for Neuman at General Electric, has denied the two were having an affair, testifying last week that she did her best to fend off Neuman's advances. "None of those feelings were ever returned," she told the court. "And I made myself completely clear where I stood."
But Peters argued that Neuman "has been manipulated by Andrea Sneiderman," and forensic psychologist Adriana Flores told the court that Andrea Sneiderman's persistent calls, texts and e-mails drove an already unstable man over the edge.
"It's a pattern of pushing him away, pulling him toward her," Dr. Flores said in testimony for the defense. "And the part that's dangerous about doing that at that time with Mr. Neuman is that he was already delusional about his relationship with her."
Flores said Neuman is a psychotic who suffers from bipolar disorder, and that he believed that angels and demons in the form of singers Olivia Newton-John and Barry White told him that Andrea Sneiderman's two children were actually his.
"He said the angel appeared, and told him (Rusty Sneiderman) is going to hurt (the children), and you have to protect them," she said. "As he's driving, he thought, 'I have to kill him.' And he said 'from that point on, I got my marching orders.'"
On Feb. 24, a friend of Andrea Sneiderman's, Shayna Citron, testified that she suspected Sneiderman was having an affair with Neuman. Sneiderman embraced her as she left the witness stand. But Peters said Sneiderman then made contact with Citron outside the courtroom.
Peters said Sneiderman told Citron their friendship was over, and Citron responded, "I had to tell the truth." Peters alleges Sneiderman countered, "Well, then I have to do what I have to do."
By Peters' request, Judge Adams banned Andrea Sneiderman from the courtroom this week, though she may still be called to testify for the defense.
The trial that is expected to wrap next week.