Diane McIver’s final moments revealed at husband’s murder trial

‘I’m dying, aren’t I?’ she asked a nurse

As the state built a case of malice murder against Claud "Tex" McIver, a damning narrative developed: The defendant, who had shot his wife, Diane, in the back — unintentionally, he maintains — showed no urgency in getting her the proper care.

He directed Dani Jo Carter, who was driving the couple's Ford Expedition, to Emory University Hospital on Clifton Road, bypassing alternatives that were slightly closer, according to the state. And when they finally arrived at Emory, prosecutor Seleta Griffin said Tuesday in her opening statement, Tex McIver was "walking casually" to the emergency room entrance.

That account was not supported by video shown Thursday in court. At Emory, Tex McIver can be seen walking alongside the SUV as it pulls up to the curb. Paulos Weldegiorgis, a valet at the hospital, testified that Tex was shouting, “Gunshot!” and “I need help” as he sought help for his wife.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Thursday’s testimony featured a sometimes intimate look at Diane McIver’s last moments as she lay writhing in pain at the hospital, seemingly aware she was dying. Nurses said her vital signs were so weak they barely registered. Tex McIver teared up in the courtroom as he watched security camera footage from outside the emergency room showing his wounded wife being rushed inside.

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Prosecutors drop salacious hints, hammer motive in McIver trial

But some testimony also seemed to backfire on the state, such as their use of video to re-create the route taken by Carter through Midtown to the hospital. McIver co-counsel Don Samuel noted that the re-creation starts on 10th Street, where a fire station is located. The prosecution’s implication is clear — Why not stop for emergency aid?

But, as Samuel pointed out, the vehicle taking Diane to the hospital never traveled on 10th Street and the fire station would not be visible when driving north on Piedmont, as Carter was.

RELATED: Witness in McIver shooting speaks for first time

Additional inconsistencies — between what prosecutors promised and what’s been presented — surfaced during Thursday’s testimony.

In one instance, lead prosecutor Clint Rucker said in a hearing before the trial that Diane McIver waited 40 minutes in a gurney for treatment. ER nurse Blair Brown said that was not the case.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

In another, Griffin told jurors in her opening statement that Dr. Susanne Hardy, the treating physician of Diane McIver, would testify that Diane told her she was “holding it behind my back when the gun went off.”

“Dr. Hardy will testify that she found this odd so she asked her again, ‘You were holding the gun?’ ” Griffin said. “And then Diane says, ‘He was holding it behind my back.’ Then about 30 seconds passes and Diane states, ‘It was an accident.’”

Emergency room nurse Mary Windom remembered it differently.

“What happened, did you accidentally shoot yourself?” Hardy asked Diane, according to Windom.

“Yeah,” Diane initially answered, Windom said. But then she corrected herself saying, “No, it was my husband and it was an accident.

Another ER nurse, Allison Neely, described Tex McIver as “emotionless” as his wife fought for her life.

“He didn’t appear to be upset or distraught,” Neely testified.

Asked for details about his wife’s shooting, Tex McIver said, according to Brown, the nurse: “The gun was in my hand. It just went off.”

Brown also said she smelled alcohol on Tex McIver’s breath.

There was no difference of opinion about Diane McIver’s condition when she arrived at Emory. Her body was limp and she was initially uncommunicative.

After pumping her with fluids, Diane McIver awoke, moaning in pain, and finally spoke.

“I’m dying, aren’t I?” Neely testified.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action news will bring you LIVE gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Tex McIver murder trial. Check back on ajc.com each day for a live blog and video from the courtroom. Visit myajc.com/crime/ for previous coverage of the case and a link to our Breakdown podcast.

Christian Boone is a crime and public safety reporter and Atlanta native. He has covered some of the biggest cases of the past 10 years, including the hot car death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris and the Dunwoody day care shooting.