Murder conviction for former metro Atlanta lawyer Claud ‘Tex’ McIver overturned
Georgia Supreme Court overturns murder conviction of wealthy attorney in high-profile 2018 trial
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - The murder conviction of Claud Lee “Tex” McIver III, the high-powered Buckhead attorney who was convicted of killing his wife in 2018 in a trial that garnered national attention, was overturned Thursday by the Georgia Supreme Court.
Diane McIver was shot and killed on Sept. 25, 2016. McIver was originally indicted in April 2017 and reindicted for malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and other charges on Aug. 22, 2018.
Tex McIver stood trial before a jury in March and April of 2018. He was found guilty of felony murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and influencing a witness. He was sentenced to serve life in prison for felony murder along with time for the other charges.
McIver filed for a new trial in February 2020. After that motion was denied, he filed an appeal in July 2021. The case was then presented in court on Jan. 19, 2022.
The Supreme Court concluded the trial court erred in refusing McIver’s request to change the charge to involuntary manslaughter despite some evidence supporting the charge. Therefore, it reversed McIver’s convictions for felony murder and possession of a firearm.
The court did not address the charges that are unlikely to recur if McIver is retried.
Jeff DiSantis, a spokesperson for the Fulton County District Attorney, said Thursday afternoon, “The district attorney will evaluate the case and make a decision on how to proceed in the near future.”
According to evidence presented at his trial, Tex and Diane McIver were returning to their Buckhead home from a weekend at their Putnam County property. They were being driven by Diane’s friend, Dani Jo Carter, in an SUV.
After stopping for dinner in Conyers, Carter testified that she was driving, Diane McIver was in the front passenger seat, and Tex McIver was in the rear passenger seat. Carter testified she was not aware of any argument or disagreement between Diane and McIver that weekend or during the drive.
When the trio entered Atlanta’s downtown connector, traffic was heavy. According to court records, Carter exited off the interstate and onto Peachtree Street.
After they exited, McIver said, “Girls, I wish you hadn’t done this. This is a really bad area.” He asked his wife to hand him his gun from the center console. Diane McIver handed her husband the gun, a .38-caliber revolver, which was not in its holster but rather in a plastic grocery bag.
Diane McIver told Carter to turn onto Piedmont Road and continue north. Carter testified she believed McIver had fallen asleep, as he had done several times during the trip.
A few minutes later, the SUV stopped at a traffic light on Piedmont Road at 14th Street when Carter heard several clicks. Diane McIver said she was locking the vehicle’s doors.
“At that moment Carter heard a loud ‘boom’ and Diane swung around and asked, “Tex, what did you do?” court records said. “McIver responded the gun discharged. Carter saw the gun in McIver’s hand, pointing down, still in the plastic bag.”
The bullet passed through the back of the front passenger seat, striking Diane McIver in the back.
McIver instructed Carter to drive to Emory University Hospital on Clifton Road. At the hospital, when asked how the shooting occurred, Diane McIver told doctors it was an accident. Carter told the police it was “a horrible accident.”
Diane McIver died during surgery as a result of internal injuries to her spine, pancreas, kidney, and stomach. Tex and Diane McIver had been married for 11 years. This was the second marriage for both of them.
Tex McIver was a partner at a large Atlanta law firm, while Diane McIver was president of one real estate business and an owner or part owner of three other businesses. The McIvers kept their business interests and sources of income separate.
Prosecutors claimed Tex McIver intentionally shot his wife over financial issues.
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