Tex McIver: Retrial begins for ex-attorney accused of killing wife

A second trial is underway for a former high-profile Atlanta attorney accused of fatally shooting his wife in their SUV in 2016.

Claud Lee “Tex” McIver III will be retried after the Georgia Supreme Court overturned his felony murder conviction last year. In 2018, a jury convicted McIver in the death of his wife, Diane McIver, but the state Supreme Court ruled jurors did not receive proper instructions.

Legal arguments and jury selection in McIver’s retrial began on Monday.

95.5 WSB’s Veronica Waters reports that a plea offer is on the table, but it appears the offer did not satisfy Tex McIver’s defense team. Waters says it is clear the defense team is determined to keep the 81-year-old out of prison for an extended number of years.

The defense, meanwhile, contended in court Monday that the jury in the original Tex McIver trial already decided the ex-attorney did not intend to kill his wife, so the state should not be allowed to tell a new jury that he did it on purpose. Prosecutor Kevin Armstrong disagreed, saying, “No one suggested he shot her, but didn’t intend to kill her. No one did.”

One attorney estimates it could be Thursday before we hear opening statements in the retrial.

Ahead of his new trial, McIver and his attorneys requested bond in order to prepare and “better address his medical needs,” according to court documents. Last month, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney denied the defense’s request.

“While (the) defendant enjoys anew the presumption of innocence as to the counts of conviction that were reversed, he also carries with him a felony conviction for improperly seeking to influence a key witness in his case, a prior bond violation so serious the court revoked his bond, and weeks of evidence about his character and (mis)conduct,” McBurney wrote. “The court has considered all this and concludes that (the) defendant is not a good candidate for bond on the eve of the re-trial of his (felony) murder case. The temptation to abandon this replay of the drama of his wife’s shooting death is simply too great.”

The original Tex McIver trial drew national attention as nearly 80 witnesses testified over the course of 19 days. Tex McIver admitted to shooting his wife, but the question was whether or not it was intentional.

On Sept. 25, 2016, the McIvers and their friend Dani Jo Carter were heading home from a party. Carter drove the SUV, Diane McIver sat in the front passenger seat and Tex McIver sat in the back seat behind his wife. McIver asked his wife to get his gun from the center console of the car and that is when McIver shot his wife in the back.

Carter drove the McIvers to the hospital, where Diane McIver died.

During the original trial, prosecutors argued he wanted to kill Diane because he was in debt and needed his wife’s money to continue with the lifestyle he wanted. The state pointed to an estate sale that McIver held after his wife’s death.

His defense refuted that claim, saying their client loved his wife and her death was an accident. McIver said the estate sale was what Diane wanted based on her will.

After four days of deliberation, the jury found McIver guilty of felony murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and influencing a witness but acquitted him of malice murder.

Stay with 95.5 WSB for continuing coverage.

Nicole Bennett

Nicole Bennett

CMG Digital Content Producer





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