DECATUR, Ga. (AP) - A man found guilty but mentally ill in a fatal shooting outside a suburban Atlanta preschool deserves a new trial because a key prosecution witness has since been convicted of lying at his trial, his lawyer argued Tuesday.
Statements by Andrea Sneiderman during Hemy Neuman's trial misled the jury and struck at the heart of the defense, attorney Scott Key said.
Prosecutor Anna Cross countered that Neuman shouldn't get a new trial because Sneiderman's testimony was challenged during the trial and the jury could have easily reached the same verdict without her testimony.
DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams said he would issue a decision later and asked lawyers for each side to submit proposed orders within 10 days.
Neuman was found guilty but mentally ill in March 2012 and was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the November 2010 shooting death of Sneiderman's husband, Rusty Sneiderman, outside a suburban Atlanta preschool.
Neuman was Andrea Sneiderman's supervisor at work. Prosecutors and Neuman's attorneys have said the two were romantically involved, allegations she has denied.
A jury in August found Andrea Sneiderman guilty of lying about her relationship with Neuman both to investigators and to the jury during Neuman's trial.
``This was not merely a denial of an affair, but it was a set of material misstatements that went to the very nature of the relationship itself, that went to the very nature of the emotional issues involved as Mr. Neuman was increasingly drawn into this relationship,'' Key argued.
Neuman's lawyers do not dispute that he killed Rusty Sneiderman, but they argue that Andrea Sneiderman took advantage of Neuman's rapidly deteriorating mental state and manipulated him into killing her husband. Neuman should be found not guilty by reason of insanity, defense attorney Doug Peters told reporters after the hearing.
Cross said jurors had more than enough information to judge Andrea Sneiderman's credibility as a witness.
``She was immediately challenged on the false statements by both sides in the case,'' Cross said.
Rather than being the prosecution's star witness, Andrea Sneiderman's testimony provided context, Cross argued. Other witnesses testified about key facts in the case, including corroborating a romantic relationship between the two, she said.
Even without Andrea Sneiderman's testimony, jurors would reasonably have been able to reach the same verdict, so Neuman does not deserve a new trial, Cross said.