Two witnesses in the trial of a Georgia man accused of murdering the husband of his alleged lover testified today that the woman, Andrea Sneiderman, told them she knew about her husband's death earlier than she claims.
Hemy Neuman, 49, is charged with shooting and killing Sneiderman's husband Rusty Sneiderman, 36, in the parking lot of the Sneidermans' son's preschool in November 2010.
Neuman, Andrea Sneiderman's former boss and GE Energy, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Rusty Sneiderman's father Don Sneiderman testified today in an Atlanta court that he received a phone call on the day of the incident from Andrea Sneiderman, his daughter-in-law, at 9:30 a.m. saying that his son had been shot.
"At 9:30, she said Rusty had been shot, she was so, so sorry and she was going to Dunwoody Prep to see what happened," Don Sneiderman.
He confirmed to the court that he was sure his daughter-in-law had called him at 9:30 a.m. because he had spoken to Rusty Sneiderman after he dropped his son Ian off at the preschool.
That account conflicted with Andrea Sneiderman's testimony Wednesday, when she told the court that she first heard that her husband was shot when she arrived at the hospital at 11 a.m.
"I didn't know what happened to Rusty until I got to the emergency room," Sneiderman, who has denied that she had an affair with Neuman and has not been charged in connection with her husband's death, said on Wednesday. "No one told me what happened to Rusty."
She said that she had called Don Sneiderman, but contrary to his testimony, she said she told him, "Something's happened to Rusty, I have no idea what."
"They took me to what I call the death room," she said. "I sat in the chair, someone I had no idea who they were, they told me he had multiple gunshot wounds and he was dead. I don't remember anything else. I fell to the floor."
But Andrea Sneiderman's close friend of 10 years, Shayna Citron, also testified today that the widow told her of her husband's shooting before 11 a.m. Citron said she was in Arizona with her husband and heading to a spa at about 8:30 a.m. when Andrea Sneiderman called her, which would have been 10:30 a.m. in Georgia.
"She was screaming to me that Rusty had been shot," Citron recalled of Sneiderman's phone call. "She didn't know if he was dead or alive and she was on her way to the hospital and she passed the phone to her mother."
Neither the defense nor the prosecution denies that Neuman pulled the trigger and killed Sneiderman, but they tell divergent stories of what led to the killing.
The prosecution painted Neuman as a calculating killer who planned Sneiderman's shooting for months -- going to gun shows, taking a gun safety course, going to target practice, renting a car for the shooting and wearing a disguise.
Neuman's defense attorney, Doug Peters, said in his opening statements that Neuman believed he had been visited by an angel resembling Olivia Newton-John and a demon resembling Barry White, who told him that Sneiderman's children were Neuman's and that he needed to protect them by killing Rusty Sneiderman.
Neuman's defense claims he and Andrea Sneiderman were involved in a hot-and-cold affair when she worked for him at General Electric. Sneiderman denies any affair.
Citron testified that she had discussed Neuman with Andrea Sneiderman, but she denied having an affair with him.
"Based on the all the time you've known her, her mannerisms, when she told you 'no,' did you believe her?" the prosecutor asked Citron.
"No, but my heart wanted to believe her," Citron replied.
"But did you?" the prosecutor pressed.
"No," Citron said.
Citron recalled Sneiderman telling her that Neuman was interested in her, but that she could handle it. She said that if she wasn't married, she might be interested, but she loved her husband and was not interested.
In her testimony, Sneiderman called Neuman "a self-proclaimed delusional individual" who fooled her using "masterful manipulation."
Though she had suspicions about Neuman, she told the court it was "unfathomable" to her that he had really killed her husband until he was arrested.
"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I thought I was crazy. Whose boss kills someone's husband? Affair or no affair -- and there wasn't -- who kills someone else's husband?"
Additional reporting by Heather Whitley.