State paints bleak financial picture for Tex McIver

March 27, 2018 Atlanta - Tex McIver smiles as he sits with his defense team during Day 11 of the Tex McIver murder trial at Fulton County Courthouse on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
March 27, 2018 Atlanta - Tex McIver smiles as he sits with his defense team during Day 11 of the Tex McIver murder trial at Fulton County Courthouse on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

What happened Tuesday: Day 11 of the Claud "Tex" McIver murder trial could've easily been mistaken for a seminar on wills and property law. Experts from both fields took up a large chunk of the day delivering a crash course on legal hypotheticals. Prosecutors hope the testimony will help jurors better understand their theory that the defendant was financially dependent on his wife and killed her because an updated will would've transferred ownership of the couple's Putnam County ranch to their godson.

RELATED: Financial motive key to state’s case against Tex McIver

You can't run a ranch on a lawyer's salary: Kenneth Rickert, general counsel for U.S. Enterprises and victim Diane McIver's personal attorney, testified that Tex McIver asked if he could collect his late wife's Social Security benefits. McIver told Rickert he was earning around $10,000 to $12,000 a month in salary from his law firm, or roughly half the cost of the upkeep on his Putnam County ranch.

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

Foreclosed? Rickert also testified about a promissory note, dated March 1, 2005, for a loan from Diane McIver to her husband for $755,000 plus interest. "That would give, theoretically, Diane the ability to foreclose on the property," said Rickert, adding that she held the mortgage on the ranch. "I'm not sure that ever would have happened. Diane would've avoided that at all costs to keep the marriage together." Under cross examination, real estate law expert Carlton Morse Jr. said documents he reviewed showed that Diane McIver had not moved to foreclose on her husband.

IN-DEPTH: State keeps hinting at Tex McIver affair, but will it backfire? 

That elusive second will: Although many witnesses have testified that Diane McIver told them she was updating her will, no one has been able to produce a copy. Rickert said that he worked with her on changes to her 2006 will and had also met with Harold Hudson, an estate attorney who testified Monday. Both attorneys said despite meetings and emails about potential changes to Diane McIver's will, neither ever saw a second will.

March 27, 2018 Atlanta - Kenneth Rickert, general counsel for U.S. Enterprises, testifies as a promissory note for a loan from Diane McIver to Claud “Tex” McIver for $755,000 plus interest, is displayed on a T.V. screen during Day 11 of the Tex McIver murder trial at Fulton County Courthouse on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
March 27, 2018 Atlanta - Kenneth Rickert, general counsel for U.S. Enterprises, testifies as a promissory note for a loan from Diane McIver to Claud “Tex” McIver for $755,000 plus interest, is displayed on a T.V. screen during Day 11 of the Tex McIver murder trial at Fulton County Courthouse on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

In Case We Missed It: In a long trial like this one, testimony sometimes falls through the cracks, especially when it comes late on a Friday afternoon. Bill Rankin, host of the AJC's outstanding "Breakdown" podcast, passed along this revealing tidbit from state witness Cathi Johansen, formerly a close friend of the victim, Diane McIver. Under cross examination by defense co-counsel Amanda Clark Palmer, Johansen described what she learned from Dani Jo Carter about the fatal shooting.

Clark Palmer: “So Dani Jo told you that when they were driving in the car, she told you that Tex had fallen asleep and that Diane said something like, ‘Tex. Wake up! Wake up! Tex, wake up!’ Right before, Boom, the gun went off.”

Johansen: “She told me that she said that Diane said, ‘Tex, wake up! Don’t go to sleep. You won’t sleep tonight.’ Boom! The gun goes off.”

Clark Palmer: “She said that those two things happened like back to back?”

Johansen: “Yes.”

That version is in line with defendant Tex McIver’s final account on what happened inside the couple’s Ford Expedition. It’s a story Carter, the lone witness to the shooting, didn’t tell police or share with jurors when she testified last week.

Tex populi: Mike Petchenik, our colleague at Channel 2 Action News, asked his Twitter followers Tuesday: Based on what you've heard in the Tex McIver trial so far, do you think he murdered his wife? The very unscientific results as of late Tuesday afternoon: 466 people had responded, 66 percent voted "Yes."

What's next? There were hopes the prosecution would rest on Friday, but don't be surprised if they're still calling witnesses on April 9, when the trial resumes after a one-week hiatus. Prosecutors have yet to call Tex McIver's former spokesman, Bill Crane nor have they addressed the alleged bribe the defendant offered to PR maven Jeff Dickerson. They're also expected to call firearms and forensics experts.

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