Star witness Dani Jo Carter is expected to take the stand for a third straight day as testimony continues in the murder trial of Tex McIver, an attorney accused of killing his wife and trying to make it look like an accident.
Diane McIver, 64, was a successful businesswoman who was shot to death in Atlanta in September of 2016.
Monday and Tuesday morning, jurors heard from star witness Dani Jo Carter, who was behind the wheel at the time of the shooting.
On Tuesday, Carter testified that the three watched the Auburn football game at the Mciver ranch and Tex cooked them dinner the night Diane McIver was fatally shot. The defense then asked her about the ride home and the moment Tex asked for his gun.
Carter was asked if she thought Tex was asleep before the gun went off.
(Defense attorney) "You told him, 'I'm sure he went to sleep with the gun in his hand.' "Do you remember telling Detective Smith that?" (Dani Jo Carter)"I don't remember saying that but I assumed he was asleep."
On Monday, Carter re-created for a jury the night her best friend of 40 years was shot and killed by her friend's husband, Tex McIver.
"When he said ‘Darling hand me my gun,’ and she said ‘Tex, I don't even know where your gun is,’ and he said ‘It's in the console.’"She said McIver asked for his gun because he thought they were in a bad neighborhood off of the Edgewood Ave. Exit of I-75. But the gun didn't go off until they were stopped at a red light near the 12th and Piedmont intersection, which is about a three miles away.
"I saw a puff of smoke and I could see his hands,” Carter said. “And I saw the gun."
Carter said Diane turned around and yelled at Tex.
"Diane turned around and said 'Tex, what did you do?'"
After that, Carter said Diane lost consciousness. Carter asked Tex where she should go and he directed her to Emory.
"What was his demeanor like?" Chief Assistant District Attorney Clint Rucker asked.
"He was holding her head saying 'Diane, Diane,' but [he was] contained," Carter said.
Carter said at one point McIver told her to slow down.
"He told me I need to be careful that there might be people out there walking with baby carriages," she said.
Surveillance video shows they eventually made it to Emory sometime after 10 p.m. That's when McIver called his attorney.
"He said, ‘I know this doesn't look good.’"
After that, Carter said McIver asked her to lie to police.
"He looked up and looked past me and said ‘Dani Jo, I don't trust these guys. I’ve seen how these things go down. I'd hate for you to get wrapped up in this."
Carter said she refused. Then left to meet with the hospital chaplain.
Carter met with police that night and gave a statement. She testified that two days after Diane died, Tex asked to meet with her at his condo. She said he asked her to tell him what she remembered happened.
Mcvier started writing down what she was saying, but then she told him "Tex those are my memories, you need your own memories.’”
A few hours later she snuck into McIver's room while he was getting a massage and took back the piece of paper that he wrote the statements on.
Carter testified that a few days after Diane died, they discussed her will. She said she told Tex that Diane would be disappointed she didn't change her will in time to leave something to her godson, Austin Schwall. Carter said Tex then told her they had previous appointments to change their wills but he had to cancel a few of them.
Carter said that was odd because Diane was very prompt and rarely every canceled appointment.
They also heard from a man who was with Tex and Diane just before the fatal shooting. Craig Stringer was the number two man at Corey Enterprises, reporting directly to Diane. He, Tex and Diane all played golf and then had dinner on the day of the shooting.
Stringer described his and Diane's relationship as like a brother and sister. They would often argue at work but they always played golf together on the weekends. That golf comradery continued after Diane and Tex were married and the three of them would play together.
Prosecutor Clint Rucker asked Stringer about his reaction when he learned the following morning that his boss had died, he said he called Tex immediately.
"I said, 'Tex, what the heck's going on?'" (Rucker) "And what did he say to you?" (Stringer) "He told me that Dani Jo and Diane were in an automobile accident on Hill Street and Diane passed in the night." (Rucker) "Are you sure about that?" (Stringer) "I swore on the Bible. I swore it. Yes."
He said when the owner of company announced to the staff that Diane actually died from a gunshot wound and that Tex had accidentally shot her, he called Tex back and confronted him.
He says Tex told him he lied because he didn't want him to get involved.
The problem is, Stringer told a grand jury a different story last year. He basically left out the part about Tex McIver's initial lie. The defense is now accusing Stringer of lying under oath. Tex McIver's condo turned jail cell High-profile Atlanta attorney set for 2018 trial after death of his wife Tex McIver: 'I'm living a nightmare'Last week, jurors saw surveillance video of McIver and his wife arriving at the hospital after the shooting. Jurors got a first look at video of the white Ford Expedition Diane McIver was shot in arriving at Emory Hospital in DeKalb County. Tex McIver can be seen wearing a red shirt directing the drive, Dani Jo, after he jumped out of the back passenger seat.
They also heard testimony from doctors and nurses. One nurse said Diane McIver told her the shooting was an accident.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that Diane McIver has almost $500,000 in the bank when she died and she paid off her credit card bills in full each month. She had life insurance policies totaling about $1.6 million.
It was also revealed that Tex McIver's role and salary were recently diminished at the law firm he worked for.
Jurors also heard testimony from Terry brown, Mrs. McIver's personal assistant. Brown testified that Mrs. McIver owed more than $900,000 to a company she was part owner of but her life insurance policy covered that debt.
On Tuesday, the state argued that McIver killed his wife because he was running out of money. Prosecutors say he tried to use his connections to get the charges against him dropped.
"He tells me, 'Mr. Dickerson you can get this case dismissed and if you do there's a large bonus in it for you and I wont mind if you share it with the d.a.," said Seleta Griffin, chief senior district attorney.
A former APD homicide detective is expected to take the stand on Wednesday.
The shooting happened in an SUV as the couple was headed back to their Buckhead condo after spending the weekend at their farm in Putnam County. Diane's best friend Dani Jo Carter was driving. Diane was in the passenger seat, and Tex, who was 73 at the time, was in the backseat.
An attorney for Tex McIver said he had a gun for protection which he was holding in his lap. He dozed off, according to the attorneys, and when the SUV hit a bump, the gun accidentally went off, piercing the passenger seat and killing his wife.
Fulton County prosecutors believe McIver intentionally killed his wife, saying his motive was financial, an assertion that McIver's attorneys argue is not based on fact.
McIver’s trial was initially scheduled to start in October of 2017, but the judge signed a motion of continuance, moving the trial to March because both the prosecution and defense needed more time to prepare.
The first part of the jury selection process could be tedious as attorneys will try to weed out potential jurors who have already formed opinions in the highly publicized case. It could take days to seat twelve unbiased jurors plus alternates.
Before the start of jury selection, lawyers for both sides wrangled over how to word the questions the judge will ask potential jurors. At the defense table - attorney Tex McIver, surrounded by his A-team defense attorneys, including murder trial veterans Bruce Harvey and Don Samuel.
The trial itself is expected to last about three weeks.
Tex and Diane McIver were considered a power couple. They married in 2005. Tex was an accomplished attorney who once served on the State Board of Elections, appointed by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue. Diane was president of Corey Airport Services.
After Diane's death, Tex sold many of Diane's belongings at auction, claiming it was necessary to liquidate some of her estate in order to pay the beneficiaries of her will.
In April, his initial bond was revoked after investigators found a gun in McIver's home buried inside a sock drawer, a violation of his bond. In December of 2017, he walked out of the Fulton County Jail with an ankle monitor after posting $750,000 bond.
He's currently on house arrest in his luxury condo in Buckhead, which he once shared with his wife.
Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.