Was Dunwoody Victim's Widow in on the Murder? Prosecutors Investigate

PHOTO: Andrea Sneiderman listens during opening statements by prosecutor Don Geary in Atlanta, Feb. 21, 2012.
Share
Copy

They won a guilty verdict against Dunwoody Day Care shooter Hemy Neuman, but prosecutors in Georgia say their investigation into the murder of Rusty Sneiderman, a father of two, isn't over: They're working to determine if there is any evidence that Sneiderman's widow -- who allegedly had an affair with Neuman -- played a role in the death.

"I believe that (Andrea Sneiderman) participated in the death of her husband," DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James told "20/20" co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas. "Now, what I believe and what I can prove are two completely different things... I think our job right now, collectively as a team, is to look at the facts, look at the evidence and make a determination whether or not it's something that I can prove to our standard, which is beyond a reasonable doubt."

PHOTOS: Dunwoody Day Care murder trial

Rusty Sneiderman, 36, a Harvard Business School graduate and an entrepreneur, was gunned down in the parking lot of his son's day care center in Dunwoody, Ga. on Nov. 18, 2010. Neuman was arrested two months later.

Andrea Sneiderman, 35, has not been charged. She testified during Neuman's trial that she did not have a romantic relationship with Neuman; instead, she said, she had repeatedly rejected his advances. She said that on the morning of Nov. 18, her son's day care center called to inform her of an "accident" but that she didn't actually learn that her husband had been shot until she arrived at Atlanta Medical Center at 11 a.m., some two hours after the shooting.

In court, Rusty Sneiderman's father Don and Andrea Sneiderman's friend Shayna Citron both contradicted that claim, saying they had received phone calls from Andrea Sneiderman about her husband's shooting earlier that morning.

In a move that shocked observers, Andrea Sneiderman hugged Citron after her testimony over the objection of an investigator. After the hug, Sneiderman was barred from the courtroom for the rest of the trial for inappropriate contact with a witness. Citron's lawyer, Jay Abt, said Sneiderman later told his client outside the courtroom, "I understand you had to do what you had to do, but now, you're going to have to live with what I'm going to do," then kissed her on the cheek and walked away.

In a statement released yesterday, Andrea Sneiderman's lawyer Jennifer Little said, "Andrea is grateful for and relieved by the jury's guilty verdict and the sentence. Nothing can bring back her husband, but it is reassuring to her that, after all of the noise and distractions surrounding this case, some measure of justice has been done for Rusty."

Little said Andrea Sneiderman had no plans to make any further public statement and asked the public and media respect that decision "in the interest of the entire Sneiderman family."

Both prosecutors and defense attorneys alleged Neuman and Andrea Sneiderman were having an affair and that Andrea Sneiderman was aware of the plot against her husband. In his closing arguments, Neuman's defense lawyer claimed Andrea Sneiderman used Neuman to kill her husband so she could collect on his $2 million life insurance policy.

"The gun was in Hemy's hand, but the trigger was pulled by Andrea Sneiderman," Doug Peters said in court.

In an interview with Elizabeth Vargas, Peters said Andrea Sneiderman should be charged with murder, while Rusty Sneiderman's father told Vargas he, too, is suspicious of his daughter-in-law.

"I don't know if she planned it, but she knew when it happened and she didn't do anything either to stop it or solve the crime," he said.

Don Sneiderman and other family members said that, in retrospect, Andrea Sneiderman's behavior immediately after Rusty's death was odd, even for a grieving widow. They said Andrea Sneiderman initially refused police access during her home during the murder investigation, leading them to return with a search warrant.

"It was an extremely strange situation. I remember thinking, 'God forbid if this were my husband, who cares about your house? Who cares about your stuff? Turn my house upside down. It doesn't matter,'" said Rusty Sneiderman's sister-in-law, Lisa Sneiderman.

Lisa Sneiderman said the "real epiphany" came when it was revealed that Andrea Sneiderman called Hemy Neuman several times that morning after allegedly learning about Rusty's "accident," but never called Rusty.

"God forbid, if my husband was in an accident or anything happened, I would have been speed dialing him every five minutes,'" Lisa Sneiderman said.

Rusty Sneiderman's brother, Steve, said he would support whatever decision the DeKalb County prosecutor's office makes with respect to Andrea Sneiderman.

"I don't know what crimes Andrea may or may not have committed, I don't," he said. "I just (know) something isn't right here."

Rusty Sneiderman, his brother said, "was a great man" who "had so much more to offer the world."

"The world is so much poorer that he is not here...He's gone away now, and I hope that the people that knew him, the people who loved him -- and there are so many of them -- that they can just take 30 seconds out of their day and think about that big smile...and go out there and do something in their lives that Rusty would have done."

Watch the full story on the latest episode of "20/20" online here.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...