A look back at Week 3 of the Tex McIver trial

Tex McIver listens to the testimony of Atlanta Police Detective Darrin Smith during Friday’s testimony in the Tex McIver murder trial . STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

caption arrowCaption
Tex McIver listens to the testimony of Atlanta Police Detective Darrin Smith during Friday’s testimony in the Tex McIver murder trial . STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

The trial so far: The state has covered considerable ground in 14 days of testimony, calling more than 60 witnesses, and they're not done yet. But Judge Robert McBurney said Friday "the end is in sight."

The third week of testimony featured a deep dive into Claud “Tex” McIver’s bleak financial outlook and ended with the state airing its grievances on how Atlanta police handled the investigation into the fatal shooting of Diane McIver.

RELATED: A look back at Week 2 of the Tex McIver murder trial

Another day older and deeper in debt: Tex McIver lived the good life. He shared a luxurious Buckhead condominium — and a masseuse — with wife Diane, traveled extensively and owned an 85-acre ranch in Putnam County. But he was broker than a newspaper reporter; McIver's bank account was often overdrawn, said Dean Driskell, an accounting expert who examined the 75-year-old defendant's financial portfolio for the state.

caption arrowCaption
Experts say McIver stood to lose the family ranch if he didn't pay up

Tex and Diane kept their finances largely separated — she took care of the condo, he was responsible for the ranch's upkeep, which required roughly $20,000 to $25,000 per month. McIver's income had "significantly deteriorated" from 2013, when he lost his post as an equity partner at his law firm, to September 2016, when he fatally shot Diane in the back, Driskell testified. But even though his salary had plummeted by "more than half" during that period, he kept spending. McIver was more than $245,000 in the red during that time period and was filling the gap with his wife's money. The state alleges that financial instability, and fear he would lose ownership of the ranch, drove him to murder. The defense has maintained that McIver was dependent on his wife's cash flow and that killing her cut that off.

IN-DEPTH: Deep dive into McIver’s finances reveals major debt, few solutions

His own worst enemy: Prosecutors on Wednesday played video excerpts from two television interviews McIver granted last April that showed, once again, the defendant's complicated relationship with the truth.

caption arrowCaption
Tex McIver seems to get emotional during the testimony of crime-scene forensics expert Michael Knox, during McIver's murder trial on March 29, 2018 at the Fulton County Courthouse. (Channel 2 Action News)

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Tex McIver seems to get emotional during the testimony of crime-scene forensics expert Michael Knox, during McIver's murder trial on March 29, 2018 at the Fulton County Courthouse. (Channel 2 Action News)

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

caption arrowCaption
Tex McIver seems to get emotional during the testimony of crime-scene forensics expert Michael Knox, during McIver's murder trial on March 29, 2018 at the Fulton County Courthouse. (Channel 2 Action News)

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

He claimed to be worth “two and a half times more” than his wife’s estate. Actually, the opposite was true. According to Dean Driskell, Tex McIver was worth about $1.7 million on the day of his wife’s death. He inherited an estimated $4 million from Diane.

“She was very successful in her own right, but I was more,” McIver told Channel 2 Action News reporter Mark Winne. In that same interview, McIver said, “Guns are not my thing.” That clip was played just after prosecutors showed jurors the 44 guns collected from McIver after his arrest.

Noted & quoted: "Back to gigoloing," Tex McIver replied in an email to his wife from July 2016, three months before her death. It was sent in response to Diane's admonition that he get his financial house in order.

“Make sure you read Javier’s job description,” she wrote, referring to the caretaker of their ranch. “That is your next life chapter. Save your moola. You will be standing there in the door with your hand out when I get home every Friday.”

caption arrowCaption
Diane McIver was shot and killed by her husband, Claud “Tex” McIver in September of 2016. He has been charged with malice murder. Diane was the president of U.S. Enterprises in Atlanta.

Diane McIver was shot and killed by her husband, Claud “Tex” McIver in September of 2016. He has been charged with malice murder. Diane was the president of U.S. Enterprises in Atlanta.

caption arrowCaption
Diane McIver was shot and killed by her husband, Claud “Tex” McIver in September of 2016. He has been charged with malice murder. Diane was the president of U.S. Enterprises in Atlanta.

Hostile inquisitor: Lead prosecutor Clint Rucker had some tough questions for one of his own witnesses: Atlanta Police Detective Darrin Smith, who interviewed McIver — accompanied by his then-lawyer Steve Maples and his masseuse, Annie Anderson, a seemingly constant presence with Tex during the week following his wife's death — on September 28, 2016, three days after the shooting.

The contentious exchange was to be expected. Atlanta police declined to charge McIver with murder; that decision was made by the Fulton County District Attorney's Office. Rucker focused on what Smith didn't ask McIver, whom APD charged with reckless conduct and involuntary manslaughter. He didn't ask why McIver didn't call 911 after the shooting, or whether the hammer on the .38 revolver was cocked.

caption arrowCaption
Jurors heard about how much pressure it takes to fire a gun

“The trigger was pulled. That I’m certain of, Smith said.” Whether it was single action or double action didn’t make any difference to me.”

But it makes a big difference when attempting to determine whether the shooting was accidental, as McIver has maintained. If it was cocked, the defendant's assertion that he accidentally fired the bullet that killed his wife is easier to accept. The cocked revolver requires only a single action and roughly 2 pounds of pressure on the trigger. If not, a double action and about 12 pounds of trigger pressure are necessary. While not impossible, it's much less likely that such force could be generated inadvertently.

In his cross-examination, defense co-counsel Bruce Harvey attempted to rehabilitate Smith. He noted as much after a fiery exchange with Rucker.

caption arrowCaption
03/26/2018 — Atlanta, GA - A note written to Diane McIver from Claud “Tex” McIver is displayed as evidence during the tenth day of trial for Tex McIver before Fulton County Chief Judge Robert McBurney, Monday, March 26, 2018. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

03/26/2018 — Atlanta, GA - A note written to Diane McIver from Claud “Tex” McIver is displayed as evidence during the tenth day of trial for Tex McIver before Fulton County Chief Judge Robert McBurney, Monday, March 26, 2018. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

caption arrowCaption
03/26/2018 — Atlanta, GA - A note written to Diane McIver from Claud “Tex” McIver is displayed as evidence during the tenth day of trial for Tex McIver before Fulton County Chief Judge Robert McBurney, Monday, March 26, 2018. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

“The tables are a little bit turned,” he acknowledged. Harvey said the prosecution was in the position of saying the police “didn’t do this and didn’t do that.”

“He’s saying you didn’t investigate it right,” Harvey told Smith. “And I’m saying you did investigate it right.”

What's next: Nothing until April 9, when the trial resumes following a one-week hiatus. The prosecution is expected to rest sometime that week. Jurors are likely to begin deliberations sometime during the third week of April.

» Need to catch up on testimony you've missed? Go to our subscriber page myajc.com/crime/. 

About the Author

Editors' Picks