DECATUR, Ga. -- After less than two days of deliberations, jurors found Hemy Neuman guilty, but mentally ill in the malice murder of Rusty Sneiderman outside his son's Dunwoody daycare on November 18, 2010. Neuman was also found guilty of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.
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Neuman had admitted to the killing; his lawyers had argued their client was insane.
"I am so, so sorry; I can't say it enough," Neuman read from a prepared statement during his sentencing Thursday afternoon. He apologized to his family, the Sneiderman's family and the community at large. "I am sorry from the deepest part of me."
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The judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Neuman's lawyers had asked Judge Gregory Adams for life with the possibility of parole, due to his mental illness.
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In a videotaped interview with psychiatrist and prosecution witness Dr. Pamela Crawford, Neuman had said demons and angels drove him to the killing, so he could be with Sneiderman's wife and children. Neuman was Andrea Sneiderman's supervisor at GE.
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Defense witness and psychiatrist Dr. Tracey Marks said Neuman believed the Sneiderman children were his own and felt he was on a "rescue mission" to save them from the same type of parental abuse he suffered as a child. Marks told jurors Neuman suffers from bipolar psychosis and delusions. She said Andrea Sneiderman's off-and-on-again romantic flirting with Neuman on shared business trips "stoked the fire" of his delusions. Sneiderman's widow has denied any such allegations.
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The defense argued Neuman should not be held criminally responsible for his actions because their client couldn't tell right from wrong.
The head of the mental health program at DeKalb County Jail, where Neuman has been held for over a year, disagreed. Testifying for the prosecution, Dr. William Brickhouse said he's seen Neuman on regular basis since January 2011 and does not believe he is insane. Brickhouse testified that he's seen hundreds of delusional and mentally ill prisoners over his career, and Neuman doesn't fit the profile. He did, however, note that Neuman showed signs of depression and expressed suicidal thoughts after fellow inmates threatened him.