Widow of slain Georgia businessman charged in killing, conspiring with gunman

Aug. 2, 2012: Putnam County sheriff's deputies lead Andrea Sneiderman from her parents home on Lake Oconee near Eatonton, Ga., after arresting her.

Aug. 2, 2012: Putnam County sheriff's deputies lead Andrea Sneiderman from her parents home on Lake Oconee near Eatonton, Ga., after arresting her.  (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The widow of a businessman gunned down outside a suburban Atlanta preschool was charged in the slaying Thursday, accused of conspiring with the gunman who was convicted four months ago.

Andrea Sneiderman, 36, was charged with malice murder, criminal attempt to commit murder, racketeering, perjury and insurance fraud, DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said.

The prosecutor declined to answer questions about the evidence, but the 19-page indictment alleged Sneiderman conspired with the gunman, Hemy Neuman, who was her boss at the time of the slaying. The indictment alleged Sneiderman and Neuman were having an affair and conspired to kill her husband, Russell Sneiderman.

"Neuman and Andrea Sneiderman conspired together to murder Rusty Sneiderman so that they could enjoy a life together, eliminate Neuman's debt problems and fully benefit from the assets the Sneidermans had acquired as well as the proceeds of Rusty Sneiderman's life insurance policies," the indictment said.

The indictment also alleged Andrea Sneiderman gave Neuman her husband's schedule "so that Neuman could kill Rusty Sneiderman."

Sneiderman's attorneys issued a statement reiterating her innocence and promising a vigorous defense "to ensure that Andrea is fully exonerated of these false accusations." Her attorneys include J. Tom Morgan, who spent 12 years as the DeKalb County district attorney.

The Sneiderman family said in a statement that Thursday's arrest brought no joy but called it "another important step in pursuit of justice for Rusty."

Prosecutors said they presented a case to a grand jury at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, and jurors returned the indictment less than two hours later.

When asked why prosecutors were pursuing the case now, the district attorney said: "Now is because we are ready now. If we were ready three months ago, it would have been three months ago. If it was last year when we charged Mr. Neuman, it would have been then."

Sneiderman was arrested at a home in Putnam County and was being held without bond. Details of an initial court appearance were not immediately available.

Earlier, WSB-TV aired footage of Sneiderman dressed in khaki shorts and a long-sleeve shirt surrounded by law enforcement officials as she left the house, was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car.

During Neuman's trial, prosecutors suggested Andrea Sneiderman was a "co-conspirator" in the slaying, goading a love-struck Neuman into killing her husband, perhaps for a $2 million life insurance policy. Andrea Sneiderman repeatedly denied an affair and denied knowing anything about the shooting.

After the trial, Neuman's defense attorneys and Russell Sneiderman's family said they hoped that prosecutors would investigate Andrea Sneiderman in the killing.

At the time, Russell Sneiderman's brother, Steve, said the family long suspected Andrea was involved in his death, and the trial only confirmed their suspicions.