The trial of prominent Atlanta attorney Tex McIver will continue on Monday, after an emotional first week in which numerous medical professionals testified, including a doctor who said the victim didn’t want to see the suspect, her husband, before emergency surgery after she was shot.
During opening statements on Monday, Prosecutor Seleta Griffin explained to jurors that although the life of Tex McIver and his wife, Diane, the former president of U.S. Enterprises, may have appeared to be something out of a storybook, it was anything but. Griffin said that shortly before Diane was shot, McIver was demoted from his job at an Atlanta law firm and suffered a pay cut, then intentionally shot his wealthy wife in the back in 2016, fearing that she would one day write him out of her will.
McIver, who was seated in the backseat of an SUV while his wife rode in the front passenger seat when she was shot, has always maintained his innocence. He claimed he was holding a gun he pulled out of the middle console in the vehicle, but the gun accidentally shot off, striking Diane.
Shortly after the incident, Diane was rushed to Emory hospital in Atlanta, where nurse Blair Brown tended to her. Brown took the stand on Thursday and testified that Diane clearly stated that the shooting was an accident. Diane later died after surgery.
“She looked at me and said ‘I’m going to die,'” Brown said during her testimony. “Dr. Hardy said, ‘What happened? Did you accidentally shoot yourself?’ And she said ‘Yeah. No. My Husband shot me but it was an accident.'”
Prosecutors showed surveillance video from the hospital, taken on the day McIver and the driver of the SUV, Dani Jo Carter, brought Diane in. According to the prosecution, McIver appeared nonchalant and not too concerned with his wife’s well-being. Within an hour of arriving at the hospital, McIver’s lawyer showed up. Carter, McIver, and the lawyer reportedly huddled together and spoke in a low tone out of earshot.
Nurse Allison Neely testified she was in the lobby when McIver’s lawyer showed. She said the suspect was emotionless.
“He was just uncaring. He wasn’t distraught, he wasn’t emotional. Nothing.”
However, Dr. Mark Rosing, who testified on Friday, said he gave McIver calming medication on the night in question, including Atavan and Xanax. Rosing said that McIver didn’t appear to be physically stressed, but the suspect was tearful.
Emergency room nurse Shahinda Cyclewala was working at Emory on the night in question as well. She testified on Friday that Diane told her she was dying and repeated that the shooting was accidental.
Dr. Susanne Hardy, who treated Diane after she was admitted into Emory the night of the shooting, testified on Friday that after providing her with vital fluids, she asked her if she wanted to see her husband, to which Diane replied, “no.” Hardy also testified that Diane voluntarily said the shooting was an accident and that her husband was holding a gun “behind her back.”
Court resumes again on Monday, March 19.
What You Need to Know
As CrimeOnline previously reported, McIver was riding in the rear seat of a Ford Expedition SUV in September 2016, while Diane rode in the front passenger seat when the shooting occurred. McIver claimed that the gun, a .38-caliber snub-nose revolver, went off by accident, but a Fulton County grand jury didn’t buy it. The evidence presented was enough for the jury to indict him on malice murder, felony murder, three counts of influencing witnesses, and other related charges.
Prosecutors said that McIver’s behavior after his wife’s death was a major factor in adding on the additional charges. For instance, McIver reportedly told the person who drove the SUV when the incident happened, Patricia “Dani Jo” Carter, to say she wasn’t there. Carter was one Diane McIver’s close friends. A few weeks later, in October, Tex McIver called Carter’s husband, Thomas Carter, and told him to tell his wife to stop communicating about the incident with law enforcement.
Tex McIver is also accused of asking a family friend, Charles William Crane, to retract a Black Lives matter statement he told the media. Previously, Tex McIver allegedly instructed Crane to act as his spokesperson and tell the public the gun was pulled out during a Black Lives Matters movement, but later changed his mind about the statement.
Prosecutors argued that the motive for the murder was Diane McIver’s money. She was the president of U.S. Enterprises Inc. and reportedly had a secret will that she drafted up shortly before she was killed. Further, it’s alleged that Tex McIver owed his wife $350,000.
Prominent Atlanta defense attorney, Renee Rockwell, said one of McIver’s biggest mistakes was talking to investigators. She also touched on motive. So far, there is no clear motive, aside from money, which, according to Rockwell, is no motive at all since they were married.
“You never tell any kind of story to investigators at all. What happens is you end up painting yourself into a corner….What makes no sense is the state’s motive. The jurors in Fulton County are not going to appreciate some motive that he killed his wife because he owed her $350,000. How can owe your bride $350,000?”
Crane told police that Patricia Carter pulled off of the Interstate in Putnam County, Georgia, because they were afraid of Black Lives Matters protesters in the area. Supposedly, McIver pulled a gun from the middle console in the SUV to protect himself from the protesters, and the pistol accidentally shot off and hit his wife. Later, the suspect said that the story wasn’t true and that he actually pulled the gun out because he was afraid of homeless people in the area, but he dozed off in the back seat, and the gun went off.
Another reason for the upgraded charges was evidence found in Tex McIver’s home. In December, McIver was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor reckless conduct He was out on bond when he got arrested again on Wednesday after police found a gun hidden in his sock drawer, which violated his bond conditions.
Tex McIver’s attorneys indicated that McIver had his own money and had no want or need to kill his wife for her cash. Regardless, a Fulton County judge ordered McIver to stay behind bars with no bond.
Check back with CrimeOnline as we continue to provide coverage of the McIver trial.
[Feature Photo: Tex McIver via AP/Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution]