ATLANTA — The only witness to the shooting death of a prominent Atlanta executive is speaking publicly for the first time about the events inside the SUV, and what led up to her best friend's death.
Dani Jo Carter was driving the Ford Expedition belonging to Tex and Diane McIver on the evening of Sept. 25.
She says they were stopped at a traffic light on Piedmont Avenue when the shooting occurred, which contradicts Tex McIver's earlier version of events.
By phone, Carter told Channel 2 Action News investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer that she is absolutely devastated by what she witnessed, and the loss of Diane McIver, her friend of 40 years.
Carter said she told Atlanta police investigators everything she can remember about the incident.
"I gave a very extensive detailed report that was videoed and audioed [sic] downtown, and I was down there for about four hours," she said in a recorded statement with her attorney, "I am cooperating with them, doing what they asked me to do. I'm just not really comfortable talking about any more of that until they talk to me."
"She's having a really tough time," said her attorney Lee Davis, "This was her best friend of 40 years."
Davis says Carter confirms most of what Tex McIver says happened that night, with one key different.
Carter was driving the SUV because she does not drink and the couple had had wine with dinner.
The women were sitting up front talking, and McIver was asleep in the back seat when the group hit traffic on the highway. He awoke to find they had exited the highway downtown and was uncomfortable with the neighborhood they were in.
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"I believe Diane knew the area somewhat well because she came through there sometimes to get to [her office], so I don't think Dani Jo was all that concerned about it," said Davis.
But Tex asked his wife for his gun from the center console. Diane McIver handed it to him inside a plastic grocery bag, and they continued traveling north on Piedmont Avenue.
In an interview with a polygraph expert on Oct. 5, Tex McIver said "the vehicle hit a bump and the gun unexpectedly discharged."
That's where Dani Jo Carter's story differs.
"It was at a stoplight, there wasn't any bump, cause they were sitting still," said Davis.
Carter first thought something had hit the car, until she heard her Diane say she'd been shot by her husband. Instead of waiting on 911 and an ambulance, the group immediately drove to Emory Hospital.
Fleischer asked Carter's attorney if she believes McIver's claim that the shooting was an accident.
"I don't know that she knows," replied Davis, "She was looking out the front window."
Through his attorney Steve Maples, McIver now says he fell back asleep with the gun on his lap, and that he doesn't know how the gun went off, but that it was an accident.
Maples downplayed the discrepancy in the stories, calling it irrelevant.
Atlanta police have been investigating for more than a month, but have not filed any charges.
"I do not think that she thinks it's murder. Tex was one of her friends too," said Davis, "I think it would be very hard for her to accept the idea that it was anything other than an accident."