Crime, Lunacy, Murder, Trials, Violence, Weirdness

Introducing the ‘Celebrity Angels and Demons Made Me Do It’ Murder Defense

Hemy Neuman is standing trial for murder. His defense is unusual.

Right now in Atlanta, a former operations manager at General Electric is standing trial for allegedly murdering the husband of his female coworker and alleged lover.

It’s a twisty tale of romance, deception, and violence, something you might find in an airport bookstore.

The strangest part of what has been dubbed the Dunwoody Day Care Killing, though, is the bizarre defense put forth by accused murderer Hemy Neuman. He says an angel and a demon, in the form of two celebrities, made him shoot his alleged lover’s husband.

Yes, you heard that right.…

Hemy Neuman is on trial for shooting and killing Rusty Sneiderman in the parking lot of a day care in Dunwoody, Georgia, where Sneiderman had dropped off his two-year-old son. Neuman worked with Sneiderman’s wife, Andrea. The two were allegedly involved in an intense love affair (although there’s conflicting evidence on the extent to which it was consummated).

Neuman’s trial began last week, and it is still in progress. You can follow it here, where local media is blogging from court.

But what is Neuman’s novel insanity plea? Let’s just say the Twinkie defense pales in comparison:

Neuman’s defense attorney Doug Peters said in his opening statements that Neuman believed he had been visited by an angel and demon in the forms of Olivia Newton-John and Barry White, respectively, that told him that Sneiderman’s children were his and that he needed to protect them by killing her husband.

I’m not going to make any “You’re the One that I Want” puns, but I do think it’s worth noting that Olivia Newton-John is still alive. Which makes me think of the weird parallel between this situation and her Grease co-star’s movie “Michael,” about an angel coming to earth as a human.

ANYWAY, the prosecution is calling B.S. on Neuman’s insanity claim. They make some good points, namely: how would General Electric allow someone who saw those sorts of visions to manage 5,000 people and an $800 million budget?

[DeKalb County Chief Assistant District Attorney Don] Geary expressed his skepticism at the idea that Neuman, an engineer who managed more than 5,000 engineers and an $800 million budget, decided to kill a man without question after being visited by angels and demons resembling celebrities.

Those involved in the case are really not happy about the “Angels and Demons” defense. Esther Panitch, the attorney for Neuman’s estranged wife, also gets the inevitable movie puns out of the way:

“Visions of Olivia Newton John?” Panitch asked. “Really, are we talking ‘Grease’ or ‘Xanadu’? It’s hard to imagine a client so arrogant that he believes angels and demons will go over on a jury. I’ve met with him and he thinks he’s the smartest man in the room. It may be his first murder trial, but not for me, the state, or the defense.”

Either way, the murder was a tragic finish to what might have been a serious romance. Neuman had asked Andrea to marry him via text message. The courtroom appears to have been dramatic as well; news reports say the widowed mother of two was sobbing during Neuman’s court proceedings.

The people involved in this will likely not heal for a long time, no matter how the trial ends. One thing is for sure: if Neuman is not convicted, you can bet we will all be hearing about the “Angels and Demons” defense for a very long time.

Dunwoody Day Care Killing: Trial Begins for Georgia Engineer Charged With Murder [ABC News]
HEMY NEUMAN | Murder trial live blog [11 Alive]

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