ATLANTA - Atlanta attorney Tex McIver has been found guilty of murdering his wife, Diane, in 2016.
Jurors deliberated for four days before returning its verdict Monday afternoon.
The decision came hours after the jury said it was deadlocked. The jurors told the judge they could not come to a unanimous decision on four of the five charges. The judge sent them back around 2 p.m., telling the jurors to keep deliberating. They returned just two hours later with a guilty verdict on four of the five charges.
McIver sat stone-faced as the verdict was read against him.
McIver initially faced a 5-count indictment. Along with felony murder, murder and aggravated assault, McIver was charged with influencing witnesses after prosecutors say he tried to get the only witness to change her story and lie to the police. Two other influencing witness charges were dismissed earlier in the trial.
Before closing arguments, the judge told jurors they could also consider involuntary manslaughter as an alternate charge to murder.
Here’s a breakdown of the verdict for each charge:
Ct. 1: Malice murder – Not guilty
Ct. 2: Felony Murder – Guilty
Ct. 3: Aggravated Assault with a deadly weapon - Guilty
Ct. 4: Possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony - Guilty
Ct. 5: Influencing witnesses - Guilty
The jury acquitted McIver of malice murder, which implied it was planned. But the prominent Atlanta attorney was found guilty of the lesser charges, including aggravated assault, possession of firearm and and witness influencing.
A person is guilty of felony murder if they kill someone while committing another felony. In this case, that was aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Felony murder carries a mandatory sentence of life behind bars.
McIver was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs and transferred to the Fulton County Jail. Sentencing will happen at a later date.
The case against Tex McIver
Nearly 80 witnesses testified over the 19 days of the trial, with McIver choosing not to take the stand in his own defense.
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. They pointed to the fact that after Diane McIver’s death, Tex McIver held an estate sale and sold off her possessions. McIver said it was what Diane wanted, according to her will.
They also pointed to Tex’s actions after the shooting.
"There is no call to 911. The first call this defendant made was to his criminal defense attorney,” prosecutor Cara Convery said.
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.
Reaction to the verdict
Jurors disagreed and convicted McIver Monday afternoon.
Diane McIver's boss and close friend Bill Corey applauded prosecutors.
"They stood up for Diane," Corey said.
Prosecutor Clint Rucker said he spoke with jurors after the verdict.
"They told me they were very, very confident in their verdict," he said.
He said jurors told him that one of the things that took them so long to convict was their confusion with the actual language of the charge.
"It definitely took a lot of compromise," juror Aubrey Gray said. "There was definitely a point where we did not think we were going to get to guilt or innocence."
Because he was convicted of felony murder, District Attorney Paul Howard said Tex McIver will not have access to Diane's $7 million estate.
"He will not get a chance now to get that money," Howard said.
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