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Hemy Neuman's family 'relieved' at his conviction | News

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Hemy Neuman's family 'relieved' at his conviction
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ATLANTA -- Hemy Neuman's wife and children are "relieved" that he will spend the rest of his life in prison, attorney Esther Panitch told 11Alive News Wednesday morning.

COMPLETE COVERAGE | The Hemy Neuman trial

Panitch, who represents Neuman's estranged wife Ariela, said her client is pleased with the sentence. "She was actually very afraid that one day he would get out and maybe come back for her," she said.

Now that Neuman's trial has ended, Ariela plans to file for a divorce. Panitch said they waited to file until after the trial because of Georgia's marital privilege, which says that a spouse cannot be compelled to testify against the other in court.

PHOTOS | Judgment Day for Hemy Neuman

Ariela Neuman actually volunteered to testify against her husband during his trial, but the state turned her down, Panitch said.

"[The state] had enough overwhelming evidence of [Hemy Neuman's] sanity as well as his guilt, so they didn't need her," she said. "I didn't want her to be subjected to those ridiculous assertions that maybe she helped drive him insane or anything that the defense would've come up with."

Panitch also revealed that her client must work three jobs in order to keep her family afloat. Hemy Neuman had "a very small retirement and pension, which he didn't squander, although he squandered everything else," but the Neumans' East Cobb home has been foreclosed and Ariela could be evicted at any time, Panitch said.

"To hear in the trial that [Ariela] was the spendthrift was really upsetting because it was him who bought the house -- he bought her the luxury car, he liked nice things, and he spent all the money on himself and Andrea [Sneiderman]," Panitch said.

Panitch added that she expects DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James to file charges against Sneiderman for her behavior during the trial.

"I've just never seen courtroom behavior like that, ever, and I've been practicing law for over 16 years," she said. "I've never seen a witness, especially the widow of a murder case, get barred from the entire courthouse."

"So I expected that ... James, who has done an excellent job with his staff in this case, will file charges," Panitch added. "I'm not sure what they will be, but I expect that he would never have called her a co-conspirator in closing argument if he didn't have something to back it up."

In the meantime, Panitch said Ariela Neuman is working hard to put her life back together.

"It's incredible, and she's really inspirational," she said. "She's very strong emotionally and she's able just to keep putting one foot in front of the other."

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