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Murder charges dropped against widow in Georgia day care killing case

By Amanda Sloane, HLNtv.com and Greg Botelho, CNN
July 26, 2013 -- Updated 2315 GMT (0715 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault charges are dropped
  • Andrea Sneiderman was accused of plotting to have her husband killed
  • She still faces other charges, including perjury and lying to law enforcement
  • Jury selection in her trial is set for next week

(CNN) -- A Georgia judge signed off Friday on the prosecution's request to drop all murder charges against Andrea Sneiderman, whom authorities have said conspired with her boss to have her husband killed.

Prosecutors said the murder charges against Sneiderman were "unjust and unethical" because they weren't positive they could prove them.

Before the decision, Sneiderman was facing malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault charges related to the death of her husband, Rusty. All three were dismissed.

Prosecutors will continue to pursue four counts of perjury, seven counts of making false statements to law enforcement officials and one count of hindering the apprehension of a criminal.

Jury selection begins Monday.

If convicted of the lesser charges, Sneiderman could still face a sizable prison sentence. One conviction of perjury carries a possible sentence of five to 10 years under Georgia law.

Rusty Sneiderman, a Harvard-educated businessman, was gunned down in the parking lot of a suburban Atlanta preschool in November of 2010. He was shot four times while children played less than 30 feet away.

Hemy Neuman, the gunman who also was Andrea Sneiderman's boss and alleged lover, is serving life in prison for the slaying. A jury found him guilty but mentally ill in March 2012.

A judge ruled during the Friday pretrial hearing to allow statements into the trial made by Neuman to his friend, Melanie White. Prosecutors said Neuman confided in White about his alleged affair with Sneiderman, a fact they say can be bolstered by evidence.

But the defense argued that Neuman was a "certifiable lunatic" and that his statements aren't reliable. He told psychiatric evaluators that he saw hallucinations of demons resembling Barry White and angels resembling singer Olivia Newton-John who told him that the Sneiderman children were his and he needed to kill Rusty.

Judge Gregory Adams has delayed his ruling on the defense's request to let Andrea Sneiderman remove her ankle monitor and be allowed to have contact with friends who are witnesses in the case.

The judge denied a defense request to delay the trial six months to a year because of the "unrelenting" media attention.

Andrea Sneiderman entered a plea of not guilty, with her lawyers issuing a statement saying she "categorically" denies each and "every one of the charges" filed against her.

InSession's Nancy Leung and CNN's Tristan Smith contributed to this report.

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