He was known to have drug abuse problems, as well as various medical issues including depression. He took numerous medications to deal with them.
He was well known as a director of award winning films, but Mattawin kept asking him to work on kid-oriented movies, such as one idea about a dog who got three wishes. Another film he had in production was one about talking bears. He felt that his ex-wife Heidi Ellison, herself a movie producer, was holding back his career out of spite.
Newman was found to have brutally murdered Heidi by decapitating her. He was tried and convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to death after a lengthy extradition process and trial, during which he was represented by a "Dream Team" of attorneys led by Neil Gorton. (L&O: D-Girl, Turnaround, Showtime).
He is loosely based on O.J. Simpson