April 21, 2017, Atlanta, Georgia - Tex McIver listens to Judge Robert McBurney's plan for when the next appearance in court will occur at a court appearance for prominent Atlanta attorney Tex McIver in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 21, 2017. (HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM)
Photo: Henry P. Taylor/Henry Taylor / AJC
Photo: Henry P. Taylor/Henry Taylor / AJC

As Tex McIver fights to stay out of jail, questions over a gun

Fulton County prosecutors said Tuesday that the gun found in the condo of Claud “Tex” McIver was purchased by his brother, strengthening their argument that the prominent attorney charged with killing his wife had violated the conditions of his bond.

The question of who owns the Glock 19-9 MM semi-automatic handgun has been burning since investigators searching for financial records found it in McIver’s sock drawer on April 14.

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The announcement - the result of a trace by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms - capped the prosecution’s case in Day 2 of a bond revocation hearing that has taken on the drama of high-profile trial. And it isn’t even over. The parties are slated to clash again Wednesday.

The day’s climactic moment came when District Attorney Investigator Johnna Griffin took the stand and announced that the gun had been purchased by John Rogers McIver of Arlington, Tx.

She said he and Tex McIver are “brother siblings” and noted Tex McIver’s ties to that state.

“His brother is listed by ATF as buying that gun that you saw with your own two eyes,” assistant district attorney Clint Rucker said.

Channel 2's Richard Elliot reports.
Video: www.accessatlanta.com

Tex McIver’s defense attorneys have maintained that he neither knew the gun was there nor where it came from.

Indeed, the defense attorneys spent much of Tuesday’s hearing trying to shift attention to Billy Corey and some people who work for him.

A maverick businessman who has made his reputation in billboard and airport advertising, Corey was the longtime boss and mentor of Tex McIver’s late wife, Diane, a successful businesswoman.

Since Diane McIver’s death, relations between Corey and Tex McIver have become strained. Corey kept a photo of Diane McIver displayed on his company’s 300-foot-tall downtown smokestack for months following her death.

In one of the day’s other dramatic moments, Corey took the stand on Tuesday with another Glock - one he said the McIvers gave him as a gift - in a box in his lap.

Although that was not the gun found in McIver’s condo, the defense team sought to make links between the two weapons using serial numbers and paperwork.

Claud “Tex” McIver said he accidentally shot and killed his wife, Diane, in September. He has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct.

Corey was asked whether he had placed a gun in McIver’s condo, or instructed anyone else to do so.

Corey answered no. He said he never used the gun.

Defense counsel William Hill asked Corey if he was aware that James Hugh, who had done work for Corey and the McIvers was at the condo shortly before authorities made their search.

Corey said he had no idea.

Rucker asked Corey to describe his relationship with Tex McIver.

“He represented us in some labor law,” Corey said. “He was Diane’s husband. We frequently visited with each other.”

Defense attorney Stephen Maples also questioned Hugh, who has done work for the McIvers and Corey for years.

Maples noted that Hugh had regular access to the condo. He asked Hugh if he was aware that Corey was “very angry” at Tex McIver over the death of his wife.

“He was upset,” Hugh said.

April 21, 2017, Atlanta, Georgia - Fulton assistant district attorney Clint Ruckers presents the handgun found at the home of Tex McIver to Judge Robert McBurney at a court appearance for prominent Atlanta attorney Tex McIver in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 21, 2017. McIver may have his bond revoked after authorities conducting a search found a gun stored in a drawer full of socks at his home. One of the conditions of McIver's bond was that he was not to have any guns, and the story only got stranger when it came forth that his attorney, Stephen Maples, told Tammy Johnson to remove it from the home after it was discovered by authorities. (HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM)
Photo: Henry P. Taylor/Henry Taylor / AJC

McIver is charged with shooting his wife in the back while they rode in their SUV near Piedmont Park in September. Police have charged him with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct, which indicate they believe he did not pull the trigger intentionally.

But prosecutors remain unconvinced. They have filed a motion in probate court accusing Tex McIver of hiding an updated version of his late wife’s will which they say likely provides “evidence of the motive in her death.”

The motion seeks to remove McIver as executor of Diane McIver’s estate.

Tex McIver’s legal team has said the district attorney’s office is off base.“There is no second will,” Maples said Tuesday.

“There are no flying saucers and Bigfoot does not exist. They are doing this on the pretext of going on a fishing expedition.”

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