For the second time in the Hemy Neuman murder trial, the jury heard directly from the defendant about what happened in the days leading up to Nov. 2010, when Neuman killed Russell "Rusty" Sneiderman.
"I got my marching orders," Neuman told Dr. Pamela Crawford in a taped interview. "And that is, Rusty Sneiderman had to die."
Crawford is the forensic psychiatrist hired by the prosecution to evaluate the defendant.
Neuman, who has told the judge he will not take the stand in his own defense, was heard Friday morning on about 20 video clips from Crawford's jailhouse evaluation of him.
Neuman claims that he was visited by an angel and a demon and that he was told that the two children of his co-worker and love interest, Andrea Sneiderman, were his own children. Neuman also claimed that the apparitions told him the children needed to be protected from their father, Rusty.
Sneiderman was gunned down after dropping off his children at a Dunwoody daycare center. Neuman has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
But Crawford testified that she believes Neuman's was faking mental illness. She found that he was performing well at work, was highly organized and showed no signs of odd, manic or delusional behavior.
She testified that Neuman knew the difference between right and wrong at the time of the killing.
Testimony on Friday also included a second mental health expert who said that Neuman is sane, and two former co-workers at GE Energy Atlanta, who say that Neuman was a high-performing employee who never appeared delusional or manic.
During the taped interview, Neuman told Crawford that once he forms a plan to do something, that "I am a great, great executioner."
That statement drew a visible double-take from some of the jurors and others in the court gallery.
William Brickhouse, a forensic psychologist and the director of mental health at the DeKalb County Jail, said that he and his staff have observed and interacted with Neuman for more than a year. He testified that Neuman is sane, has been a model inmate, and has even used his bilingual skills to mediate disputes between other inmates.
But he has never displayed any sign of mental illness, or spoken of demons or angels.
"As an illness that is chronic in nature, it will present itself if they really have that disease," Brickhouse said.
He underwent a long cross examination by defense attorney Doug Peters who tried to underscore that if a person's delusion isn't touched upon directly, that person could appear normal.
The prosecution also put two of Neuman's former co-workers on the stand. His former boss, Eric Gephart, testified that Neuman was a high-performing employee who was being groomed for promotion. Gephart’s statements contradicted Neuman’s claim to Crawford that he got mediocre reviews at work.
Co-worker Richard Demanche refuted other parts of Neuman’s statements about his work life.
In one of the video segments viewed by the jury, Neuman told Crawford that in February 2010, a time when he claims he was depressed and visited by the demon, he walked away from a $10 million project at work and left it in Demanche’s hands.
Demanche testified that was not true and said he wasn't working with Neuman on the project.
It appears that prosecutors are trying to establish a pattern of lying by Neuman, including lying about work issues and his mental state.
The defense rested its case Thursday afternoon, and the trial is now in the rebuttal phase, allowing the prosecution to present additional evidence.
Neither side has made their legal strategies public and lawyers won’t release witness lists, though some witnesses remain under subpoena and could be called back to the stand.
Brickhouse is expected to return to the stand when court resumes at 9 a.m. Monday to undergo cross examination by the defense.
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