Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How will the Defense explain the evidence about when Andrea Sneiderman knew Rusty had been shot and killed?

While a substantial amount of evidence emerged from the Hemy Neuman trial tending to implicate Andrea Sneiderman in the murder of her husband, Rusty Sneiderman, one of the most frequently cited "smoking guns" is the conflicting testimony regarding when Andrea knew Rusty had been shot.

The testimony regarding when Andrea knew Rusty was shot may not be as damning as you think.  Let me summarize the testimony as I recall it from watching clips of the trial:
  1. Andrea first testifies that she first learned that Rusty had been shot and killed from a doctor at the hospital approximately 2 hours after Rusty had been shot. She says she didn't learn what happened to Rusty until she got to the DeKalb Medical Center. "Nobody told me what happened to Rusty."
  2. Shayna Citron testifies that Andrea called her around 10:30 am and told her that Rusty had been shot, and that she did not know whether he was alive or dead, and that she was on her way to the hospital.
  3. Don Sneiderman testifies that he received a call from Andrea at about 9:30 am.  Andrea said she was on the way to the day care and that Rusty had been shot.
  4. Alan Schactely testifies that he received a text from Andrea to contact Andrea.  Alan called Andrea some time before 11 am, and that Andrea said that Rusty had been shot.  Andrea said to tell Neuman she was leaving, and Schactely presumed she meant leaving work.
Now, let me provide a plausible explanation as to how this evidence does not show that Andrea knew Hemy Neuman was going to shoot and kill Rusty.

Andrea's testimony is NOT that she FIRST learned Rusty had been shot at the hospital.  Her testimony is that she learned he was shot AND had died.  It is the "and died" part that is important.  As I will explain below, Andrea could easily have learned and/or figured out Rusty had been shot before she ever got to the day care.  In short - nobody told Andrea what happened to Rusty, that he had died, until she got to the hospital. And, therein lies the rub.

Go watch Andrea's testimony here:

The longer version is this:

Citron and the co-worker, Alan Schlactley, testified that Andrea's contact came after Andrea was at the day care and before she got to the hospital.  Andrea could have heard on the radio and seen/heard evidence of a shooting at the day care.  Andrea testified that a doctor at the hospital told her Rusty had been shot and had died.  Do not infer from that testimony that was when she FIRST learned Rusty had been shot - that testimony is only good to show that was when Andrea FIRST learned that Rusty had DIED.  She could have already learned he had been shot because she could have heard the news on the radio, and she was at the crime scene at the day care - I'm assuming that anyone at that crime scene could have observed that there had been a shooting or overheard someone talking about a shooting.

Only Don Sneiderman testified that Andrea said Rusty had been shot BEFORE Andrea got to the day care.  Andrea still could have learned Rusty was shot before getting to the day care. The number one way was by radio broadcasts. I recall hearing about the shooting on the radio before I got to work that morning, and Andrea could have also heard the same "breaking news."

So - what do you think? Do you think the Defense will spin it this way? Its pretty difficult evidence to overcome, and the Defense has to get a jury through this evidence and on their side. What would you do if you had to explain Andrea's testimony in a way that is plausible and shows that she had no involvement in her husband's murder?

Please, poke holes in my theories.

I welcome comments here or on twitter: @SpeakerDave

Also, please join the Dunwoody Murder Trial Discussion Club (#DMTDC) on facebook.


  1. Good argument...would like to see radio/tv records to show when first broadcast of "shooting" occurred.

  2. YES Cheryl!! That's exactly what I was thinking too. Did local media report a shooting before Andrea made her calls to anyone?

  3. You are on the right track. There will be no spinning or twisting of the evidence on behalf of the defense. That is what ADA Geary did in the questions he asked and to whom he asked them. The evidence was always there but the former Dekalb ADA had complete disregard of the truth and what the evidence truly revealed. Perhaps that is why he left in the midst of the biggest case of his career.

  4. Yes, that sounds right to me too, it does seem like a reasonable assumption considering the coverage, and what was it that prompted Andrea to head to the day-care?

    1. Wasn't she prompted to go to the daycare by a phone call from the daycare director telling her that there had been some kind of "accident" and asking her to come there?

    2. Jill in StL - One daycare worker testified that she called Andrea, said that there was an incident, that her son was okay, but that she needed to get to daycare immediately. The daycare worker testified that she did NOT tell Andrea that Rusty had been shot.

      I don't know about you, but if daycare calls me and tells me to get there b/c of an emergency, I'm not hanging up the phone until I know exactly what is going on. Or, I'm going to call back and start asking, or I'm going to call around to find out what is going on. I wonder what other testimony and evidence that was not necessary in Hemy's trial will come out in Andrea's trial, because I have a hard time believing Andrea wouldn't try to find out what the emergency was unless she already knew and/or suspected what had happened.

    3. I have always believed that Andrea found out about the shooting at the daycare ctr.
      When she arrived she saw crime tape, her husband s van which did not appear to
      be in an accident and blood all over the parking lot. it is hard to believe that she was
      not told that Rusty had been shot. She did not know he had died until she got to hospital.

  5. Hard to believe the DA is actually taking this to trial...mainly she is being tried for being an arrogant bitch during questioning. I believe she is guilty of terrible judgment in handling her boss's infatuation and probably used it to further herself, but evidence of participation in murder? If they couldn't convict Casey Anthony of it, no way is Ms. Sneiderman going to be convicted. Huge waste of money.

  6. Do we know for a fact that the radio station was covering that there was a shooting at a daycare center at the time Andrea Sneiderman was on her way there? Do we know if she had her radio even on when driving - she was making phone calls at the time - would she even have the radio on at the same time? Had her vehicle she drove to the daycare been checked to see if the radio was on, what station was the radio set to, and was that said radio station covering the shooting on-air at the exact time she was on her way there?

    1. Jill in StL - If Andrea were to claim she heard about the shooting on the radio, all of your questions challenging that assertions are right on target. We don't know those answers. How would she prove it, and how much proof would she need - Especially since the burden of proof is on the prosecution to show she is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and not on her to prove she is innocent?

  7. Is anyone in the New England area thinking about attending the trial? Do you think it will go on thru August?

  8. Hi David,

    I think you should go back to listen to Andrea's entire testimony again. There is a point where she expressly states that she did not no what happened to Rusty before she got to the hospital.

    Her exact words were "I didn't know what happened to Rusty until I got to the emergency room." So, if she didn't know what happened to Rusty before getting to the emergency room, how did she know enough to tell his dad that he had been shot only a few minutes after he had been shot?

    1. Hey - thanks for the comment.

      This is one of the big challenges for the defense. I think they would argue that "What happened to Rusty" was that he had DIED from being shot, not just that he had been SHOT.

      So, what Andrea was really saying was that she did not learn hat Rusty had DIED until someone at the hospital told her, but she already knew he had been shot because she had been to the crime scene.

      "What happened to Rusty" = "Rusty had Died"
      "What happened to Rusty" does not = "Rusty had been shot"

      Do you see the difference?

      However - it is harder to explain how Andrea could call Don Sneiderman before Andrea arrived at the day care and say Rusty had been shot. If Don is right, Andrea is guilty unless she can show she learned of the shooting innocently before arriving at the day care. I have never seen any explanation for this except that Don must be confused about the timeline.

      In any event, thanks again for chiming in. Keep an open mind, don't choose "guilty" or "not guilty" until you see all the evidence and the case has been given to the Jury.

      The only just position to have now is that Andrea is presumed innocent until the jury says the state has proved her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Let me add one more thing:

      I think you are overly pessimistic about Jurors forming opinions and disobeying the Judge's instructions not to get outside information about the case. While it may be hard to form an opinion once the evidence starts coming in, I think the overwhelming majority of jurors obey the Judge's instructions about outside evidence.

      If you haven't already, follow me on Twitter, and join the Facebook discussion group. At least you support your conclusions with evidence from the case, which is the second best option. Your thoughts would likely be well received in the group.


    4. You think I am overly pessimistic, I think you are overly optimistic. In either case, it should be a good trial. Thanks again for you feedback.

  9. Hi David,

    I see your point about "what happened to Rusty = Rusty had died, but I simply don't buy it. Because someone could interpret the "what happened to Rusty = Rusty got shot." It is a matter of perspective.

    Where the Defense would try and get the jurors to see your version, I am most certain the prosecution would not.

    And yes, in theory we are suppose to think innocent until proven guilty, but how many people actually do that?

    Jurors are regular people and we all form opinions long before a trial even if we say we didn't.

    Hopefully, if any of the jurors have formed opinions or do form them before the trial has concluded (jurors are not sequestered and will likely watch the media coverage)that they will be able to put aside personal belief/emotions if hard evidence comes forth in support of either side.

    However, this case is basically about Andrea's credibility and I could easily see how they could determine that she has none.

    Her demeanor and testimony in the Hemy Neuman trial speaks volumes. "who wouldn't call their spouse if they had just received a call stating "there had been an accident." Yet, she doesn't make one attempt to call her husband, but she calls her "boss" numerous times. Simply doesn't make sense.

    But we will see how it goes...Thanks for responding to my post and thanks for your input.