The defense rested in the Hemy Neuman Murder Trial late last week. Neuman, accused of murdering Rusty Sneiderman in front of his child's day care facility in November 2010, has plead not guilty by reason of insanity. The defensive strategy was to provide intensive expert testimony on the mental capacity of Neuman.
The Defense called two experts to testify as to the sanity of Neuman and his ability to recognize the difference between right and wrong at the time of the shooting. One expert was forensic psychiatrist, Tracy Marks. In an attempt to prove insanity, Marks spent the majority of her testimony discussing Neuman's suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, and symptoms of bipolar. She stated that Neuman had been experiencing suicidal thoughts and tendencies months before he ever hired Andrea Sneiderman, the wife of the victim who was allegedly engaged in an elicit affair with Neuman. During the defense's opening statement, the defense mentioned that Neuman had been visited by demons. Marks detailed an encounter with a demon in February 2010 where the demon supposedly told Neuman that he was worthless. Another demon, appearing in July 2010, told Neuman that Andrea Sneiderman's children were actually Neuman's children, and that they were being abused by their father, Rusty. One month later, that same demon allegedly told Neuman that he needed to kill Rusty Sneiderman in order to "protect them from suffering the same fate he did as a child in terms of being abandoned or rejected." Marks stated that certain statements and actions by Andrea Sneiderman fueled the fire in Neuman. Specfically, Marks said Andrea regularly complained to Neuman about tension in her marriage. She once emailed Neuman several pictures of her children without their father in the pictures. Neuman interpreted his absence to mean he was abusing the children.
The second expert that testified for the defense was forensic psychiatrist, Adriana Flores. Dr. Flores, along with Dr. Marks, diagnosed Neuman as mentally ill and suffering from bipolar disorder and psychosis. Dr. Flores expressed the opinion that because of his mental state, Neuman did not know the difference between right and wrong at the time of the shooting. The Prosecution has argued, however, that Neuman did know the difference between right and wrong because he disguised himself at the crime scene, he threw the gun in the lake after the shooting, and he lied to police about his involvement. Thus, on cross-examination, the prosecution asked Dr. Flores if it was possible that Neuman was lying. She responded that, "It's always possible."
Neuman informed the Court many times that he would not be testifying during his defense. However, the defense played taped interviews with Neuman in front of the jury. In these tapes, Neuman discussed the difficult childhood he experienced with an emotionally abusive father and an absent mother. Neuman became visibly upset when the tapes were played in court.
After the defense rested, the prosecution called a rebuttal witness, forensic psychiatrist Pamela Crawford to try and provide testimony from an expert who believed Neuman was faking his mental illness. The prosecution ended its rebuttal this morning. Closing arguments are expected to begin tomorrow morning. Once closing arguments are over, it will be up to the jury to decide the fate of Hemy Neuman.