ATLANTA — As a local attorney begins a life sentence in prison for murdering his wife, he's now also facing a wrongful death lawsuit.
But the suit doesn’t just name Tex McIver. It also names the key witness in the car when it happened – Dani Jo Carter.
McIver was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole on Wednesday for murdering his wife, Diane, as they rode in their SUV in 2016. Carter was driving the SUV at the time.
In the suit filed by Mary Margaret Oliver, who is the administrator of Diane McIver’s estate, the plaintiffs seem to be seeking an admission from McIver that the shooting was accidental. A lawyer speculates that might make it easier to recover insurance money.
Channel 2's Mark Winne sat down with Carter's lawyer, who said the lawsuit surprised his client.
“I think seeing her name as a defendant next to Tex’s name in this really hit her hard,” attorney Lee Davis said.
Davis says Carter and Diane McIver were best friends most of their adult life, and at the time of Diane McIver’s death. He says Carter did nothing wrong to contribute to the wrongful death of Diane McIver.
Lawyer Robin Frazer Clark told Winne she brought the wrongful death suit on behalf of Diane McIver’s estate.
Clark says Carter was driving the McIver’s SUV with their permission and is consequently covered by their insurance, which could be a factor in what money is available to the estate if the suit is successful.
Clark also said Carter needed to be included in case the jury found Carter had some portion of the fault in the death.
Clark says the full ramifications of Carter’s involvement may not be clear until after she is deposed in the lawsuit
“She didn’t understand how anybody could possibly think she had anything to do with (Diane McIver’s) death,” Davis said.
The suit says Tex McIver "was negligent in discharging a firearm while a vehicle was in motion,” and suggests Carter breached "a duty to drive with due care and in a safe manner at all times."
The suit says, "Instead of stopping and calling 911, defendant Carter drove to the emergency room at Emory University Hospital as instructed by defendant McIver."
Davis says Carter thought they could get Diane McIver to the hospital faster if they didn’t stop and wait on an ambulance. He said she drove quickly but safely.
Tex McIver's attorney, Bruce Harvey, said the suit isn't surprising to them. He said Tex McIver has maintained all along that the shooting was an accident and that there's a mistaken verdict waiting for correction.
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