Months before charging her with murder, DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James had Andrea Sneiderman on his radar.
On the day after jurors found the Dunwoody widow’s former boss and alleged paramour guilty of fatally shooting her husband, James told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he had “strong beliefs about Mrs. Sneiderman’s involvement.” During the trial, James strongly implied that Andrea Sneiderman conspired with Hemy Neuman, accusing them of “covering up for one another.”
Now, days before her trial is set to begin, two people with direct knowledge of the case say James has informed defense counsel the state plans to drop murder charges against Sneiderman. The 37-year-old mother of two still faces four perjury counts, seven counts of making false statements and one count each of hindering the apprehension of criminal and concealment of material fact. Each charge carries a maximum of 5-10 years in prison.
But that’s little comfort for those who believe Sneiderman was complicit in her husband’s death.
“(James) is letting a murderer walk free,” said lawyer Jay Abt, who represents Shayna Citron, a key prosecution witness. Citron testified during Neuman’s trial that Sneiderman, then a close friend, called en route to Atlanta Medical Center saying her husband had been shot.
That admission was crucial in building the case against Sneiderman, who testified she first learned of the shooting at the hospital.
“Hemy didn’t hide his crime from Andrea because Andrea already knew,” James said in his closing argument at Neuman’s trial. “How could she know 30 minutes after [Rusty] was shot that he had been shot?”
Still, many legal observers say the largely circumstantial case would’ve been a hard one to prove.
Jettisoning the most serious charges “may be a wise tactical move, but would be outrageous considering they’ve alleged her involvement in the murder for over a year,” said criminal defense attorney Steve Sadow, who is not connected to the case.
Sneiderman was initially indicted as Neuman’s co-conspirator following her arrest last August. That indictment was withdrawn early this year, and she was charged instead as a “party to the crime.” Georgia law defines that, in part, as intentionally advising, encouraging, hiring, counseling or procuring another to commit a crime.
Attorneys for both sides were unavailable for comment, bound by a gag order imposed by DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams.
Sneiderman has steadfastly denied any involvement in her husband’s murder and insists she was not romantically involved with her onetime supervisor. She has spent the last 11 months under house arrest.