ATLANTA — The Georgia Supreme Court has overturned the murder conviction against Tex McIver, a former metro Atlanta lawyer accused of killing his wife.
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Claud Lee “Tex” McIver III was convicted of felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in the shooting death of his wife, Diane McIver in 2018.
The couple was on their way home from a party with a friend in 2016 when McIver allegedly shot his wife through the back seat of their SUV. She was rushed to the hospital, where she died.
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The Supreme Court reversed Tex McIver’s convictions Thursday because they say the trial court “erred in denying his request to charge the jury on a lesser involuntary manslaughter offense.”
The Court said the jury should have been told that they could consider a lesser charge like manslaughter.
The court did uphold McIver’s conviction for influencing a witness.
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McIver said during the trial that his wife’s death was an accident, and that he had fallen asleep when the gun he was holding for protection went off. McIver was tried and sentenced to serve life in prison for felony murder, five concurrent years for influencing a witness and five concurrent years suspended for the gun crime.
The jury acquitted McIver of malice murder, which implied it was planned.
Prosecutors argued that McIver killed his wife for financial reasons. Lead prosecutor Clint Rucker said McIver was in debt and needed the money to continue living the lifestyle he was accustomed to. Diane McIver was the president of U.S. Enterprises, which owns the iconic Cory Stack in downtown Atlanta.
On the other side, the defense argued that Diane and Tex McIver had a loving relationship. Witnesses said the couple called each other “darling” and never fought. During closing arguments, McIver’s attorney Don Samuels told jurors that that state’s case was “based on speculation and red herrings.” He said Tex McIver fell asleep with a gun in his lap and there was no intent.
“It’s just not a crime,” Samuels said.
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