Before she died, Diane McIver told an emergency room doctor that her husband had shot her by accident, according to a police interview with the physician cited in court papers filed Monday.
“She said it was an accident without me prompting,” said Dr. Suzanne Hardy, who treated Diane McIver after she was admitted to the emergency room at Emory Hospital on Clifton Road.
The doctor’s statement was contained in a court motion submitted Monday by the defense team of Claud “Tex” McIver, who is facing murder charges in connection with his wife’s death in September.
McIver has pleaded not guilty in the shooting death of his wife as they were driving near Piedmont Park. His trial is slated to begin Oct. 30.
The motion requests that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney reconsider his decision to deny bond to the 74-year-old prominent Atlanta attorney, who remains in jail.
The motion cites three people who say the shooting was an accident, the physician Hardy, the woman who was driving the vehicle when the shooting occurred, and an Atlanta police detective. Recordings of the interviews were included in the motion presented to the court, but McIver’s attorney Stephen Maples declined on Monday to provide them to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
McIver’s attorneys say in the motion that the Atlanta Police file on the case “contains reports, photographs, and recorded witness interviews conducted by the APD which fatally undermine the DA’s case against Mr. McIver for murder.”
The Atlanta Police Department determined that the shooting was accidental and charged McIver with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. But Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard’s office conducted its own investigation, and convinced a grand jury to elevate the charged to malice murder, felony murder, possession of a weapon and three counts of attempting to influence witnesses.
The court papers also quoted from a police interview with Patricia Diane Carter, a friend of Diane McIver’s who was driving the Ford Expedition when the shooting occurred.
“There is no doubt in my mind that it was completely one of the most horrible accidents,” she told an Atlanta detective, according to the motion.
Atlanta Police Det. Darren Smith is also cited saying the shooting “appears to be an accident to us.”
Maples criticized prosecutors for not providing him with the Atlanta police file in a timely fashion, so these statements could be used to support the argument for bond for McIver.
The DA’s office declined to comment Monday, saying that the case remains under investigation.
In denying the motion for bond earlier this month, Judge McBurney noted that McIver had violated the conditions of his prior bond by having a handgun in his Buckhead condo. The judge saw a “significant” risk that McIver would hurt himself or others.
Also, the judge, having heard prosecutors say McIver was trying to influence the proceedings from inside jail, said he had “profound concerns about (McIver’s) willingness to let justice take its proper course.”
In other developments, McIver was relocated over the weekend from the Fulton County Jail on Rice Street in northwest Atlanta to the Alpharetta Jail Annex. In the Fulton County jail, he had been housed in the medical unit, not for any medical issue but as a way to isolate him from the prison population. Jail officials would not say exactly why he was isolated, but indicated that his age and high-profile case could have played a role.
By moving him to Alpharetta, McIver freed up a medical bed that could be used for an ill inmate.
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