Widow gets prison for lies about husband's death

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Associated Press

Posted on August 20, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 20 at 10:07 AM

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — A judge has sentenced a Georgia woman convicted of lying to investigators about the shooting death of her husband outside a preschool to spend the next four years in prison.

The judge handed down a five-year sentence for Andrea Sneiderman on Tuesday. However, the judge said Sneiderman will get credit for time she's served in custody and under house arrest, which means she'll spend about four years behind bars.

Prosecutors had asked for a 20-year sentence after Sneiderman was convicted of perjury and other counts. In the end, the judge gave Sneiderman several five-year sentences, but ordered them to run concurrently.

Sneiderman's former boss was convicted of fatally shooting her husband outside a preschool in suburban Atlanta. She was initially charged with murder, but prosecutors dropped the murder case and instead went forward with the other counts.

Sneiderman had said through tears earlier in the day that she hoped for a lenient sentence for the sake of her children.

"One of my greatest regrets will always be allowing this predator into my life," Sneiderman said of her former boss, Hemy Neuman.

"Mr. Neuman changed my children's lives forever by killing their father," she added. "Please don't make them live without their mother."

A string of Andrea Sneiderman's friends also took the stand to ask the judge for leniency. Many told him she is a wonderful mother and said her children needed her.

A family friend who said he was closer to Rusty Sneiderman testified on her behalf.

"I still believe Rusty would want Andrea to be with their children," said Paul Sims, adding that he hadn't seen Andrea Sneiderman in more than a year. "I don't believe that Andrea going to jail will help the children."

But Rusty Sneiderman's brother, Steven, called her a common criminal and a liar. She should not be allowed to use her children as "human shields" in an attempt to get a lighter sentence, he said.

"A very special man is gone because of her actions and all she can do is lie about it again and again," he added. "Self-preservation is the only thing on her mind."

In a news conference after Sneiderman was sentenced, DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said the system worked.

"She spoke today and she never took responsibility or accountability for that," James said. "It's difficult for me to feel sympathy when someone asks for mercy but they're not willing to admit their faults."

Jurors had found her guilty of nine counts, including making false statements to investigators and perjury.

Prosecutors accused Sneiderman of lying to police investigating her husband's death and lying under oath during Neuman's trial. The 13-count indictment included charges of making false statements, hindering an investigation and perjury.

She was found guilty of hindering the apprehension of a criminal, concealment of material facts, three counts of giving false statements and four counts of perjury. She was found not guilty of three counts of perjury and one count of giving a false statement.

Prosecutors maintained that Andrea Sneiderman was having a romantic relationship with Neuman and that she repeatedly lied about the relationship, which they said hindered the investigation into her husband's death. Sneiderman and her defense team repeatedly denied that there was a romantic relationship and said that police bungled the investigation by not focusing on Neuman even after she mentioned him to them.

She testified Tuesday that she saw Neuman as a mentor and began a friendship with him, and "the line of appropriate conduct clearly blurred."

"In hindsight I should have told Rusty about his advances," she said. "I should have quit my job, filed a report with HR and hid from Mr. Neuman."

She said she regrets sharing personal feelings with Neuman, but denied having a sexual relationship with him.

Sneiderman's defense has said prosecutors had a weak case, but were desperate to convict her of something.

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