Channel 2 Action News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution 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 from the courtroom and daily video recaps. To keep up with each day’s story and see previous coverage, go to myajc.com/crime/.
This is our live recounting of testimony occurring in the courtroom on Wednesday March 21:
5:08 p.m. Jury is dismissed
Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday with Officer Stroupe back on the stand.
Officer Frank Stroupe overheard a conversation in the hospital that night between Tex McIver and his attorney, Stephen Maples, as they sat together in a waiting room at Emory Hospital.
McIver asked his attorney what he should say.
Emory police officer Stroupe is providing details of how he interviewed Dani Jo McIver on the night of the shooting, Sept. 25, 2016. He spoke to her privately, away from Tex McIver. He established where the shooting took place and began taking steps to secure the Ford Explorer where the shooting happened.
Emory Police Department Officer Frank Stroupe is on the stand. He was called into Emory University Hospital on the night Diane McIver was brought in.
While the jury was out of the room, attorneys, judge and Dale Cardwell worked through how his testimony might play out. Dani Jo Carter told Cardwell that Tex was acting strangely after his wife died. That he wasn’t speaking or acting the way someone in deep grief should.
She told Cardwell that Tex McIver told her she didn’t need to be involved at all, and at one point he suggested she leave Emory University Hospital. “She said he seemed to be in a strategy situation rather than a grief situation,” Cardwell recalled.
On Oct. 5, 2016, Dani Jo and Tom Carter came to Dale Cardwell’s home to discuss what had happened with the McIvers.
3:24 p.m. The jury is on a 10 minute break.
Dale Cardwell recalls an Oct. 6 conversation with Dani Jo Carter, who later came with her husband over to his house. She recounted to Cardwell the details of what happened inside the SUV when Diane McIver was shot, as well as things that took place between her and Tex McIver after the shooting.
The prosecution team has called Dale Cardwell to the stand. A journalist for 32 years, Cardwell is now a consumer investigator who hosts a t.v. show and website to solve and investigate consumer problems. He met Diane McIver in 2004 while reporting a story on her boss Billy Corey. He said Tex, Diane and Billy “were a sweet group of people I thought a lot of.”
More voicemails harvested by investigators from Tom Carter’s phone are entered into evidence. Tom Carter is the husband of shooting witness Dani Jo Carter. On the morning of Oct. 6, Tex McIver had expected her to show up at his attorney’s office to make a statement and deposition about what had happened when Diane McIver was shot and killed.
When she did not arrive, Tex McIver left several messages with Tom, who eventually returned his call.
Defense attorney Bruce Harvey recounts that conversation: “His (Tex McIver’s) concern was why did Dani Jo hire a lawyer. Because he thought Dani Jo hiring a lawyer made him, Tex, look guilty. He didn’t express to you, ‘Here’s what I need Dani Jo to say…’ Did he? It was not about her statement or what to say or who to say it to.”
Tom Carter agreed with that. He added that at the time, he thought, “Why is it o.k. for him to get an attorney, but it’s not o.k. for my wife to get one?”
2:45 p.m. Tex McIver’s lawyers wanted a statement from Dani Jo Carter about the shooting, and they also wanted her to give a public statement about the incident. Tom Carter said their understanding was that reporters from the AJC would be present at a deposition that Tex McIver’s attorneys were arranging.
Harvey said, “With regard to that statement, had Tex said to Dani Jo, ‘Here’s what I want you to say … ?’ Nobody had told Dani Jo what to say.” Tom Carter agreed that she had not been directed on what to say.
The Carters later failed to show up for that meeting. They went instead to the home of Dale Cardwell, who the Carters considered a friend.
Bruce Harvey is pressuring Tom Carter on the sequence of events and phone calls on the night of the shooting. Under pressure to explain why he didn’t immediately ask McIver about the condition of Dani Jo that night, Tom Carter said he now recalls asking about her that night and is unsure if he correctly explained the sequence of conversations that night.
Defense attorney Bruce Harvey is doing the cross-examination of Tom Carter, husband of Dani Jo Carter, the sole witness to the McIver shooting. He is reviewing how Tom Carter learned that Diane McIver was died.
In a phone call, Tex McIver said to Tom Carter some hours after the shooting: “There’s been an accident. Diane is dead.” He asked Tom Carter to come to the hospital quickly.
Wealthy. Connected. Successful. Tex and Diane McIver seemed to have it all. That was until Tex shot Diane in the back as the couple rode in their SUV on a September evening in 2016. The defense says it was a terrible accident; prosecutors call it murder. Read our complete coverage of the murder trial.
Tom Carter testifies that Tex McIver left several other voicemails for him that day. When Tom returned the call, he said Tex McIver was upset that Dani Jo Carter had hired a civil attorney to represent her. “She hired an attorney basically to fend the press off,” Tom Carter said. Tom Carter also said he deleted the voicemail message from his phone as Tex McIver asked. The message would later be retrieved by investigators.
Jurors are back from lunch and have just heard a voicemail between Tex McIver and Tom Carter (Dani Jo Carter’s husband) left on Oct 6, 10 days after Diane McIver was shot and died. The voicemail is the basis for one of the charges Tex McIver is facing for influencing a witness. Prosecutors say it’s evidence that McIver was pressuring Dani Jo Carter to stop providing information to police about the shooting because he was afraid it would lead to his arrest.
“Tommy Lee, it’s Tex. Sir, just let me be plain. Dani is about to send me to prison. Please erase this – this voice mail message -- but call me right away. Y’all have no idea the problem this is causing. It’s innocent, but it’s absolutely nuclear to me. Please, please call me.”
12:25 p.m. The jury is dismissed for lunch
When the jury returns, they will listen to a voicemail left by Tex McIver for Dani Jo Carter’s husband. The voicemail is a critical piece of evidence for the prosecution. Transcripts of the call have been provided to jurors.
Tom Carter is describing his friendship with the McIvers over the years. Rucker, the prosecutor, asks Carter if he ever heard Tex McIver talk about his wealth.
“Yeah,” Carter said “He said he was rich as (expletive).”
Under questioning from Rucker, Tom Carter also recalled how Diane McIver would sometimes admonish her husband about his weight. For instance, she would tell him not to eat snacks after dinner.
“C’mon darlin’ I love my Cheez-Its,” Tex McIver would reply, according to Carter.
Carter has wrapped up her testimony after more than two days on the stand. Her husband, Tom Carter, is up now. The two have been married for nearly 18 years and Tom Carter works at a motorcycle dealership.
McBurney is relaying some of the questions from the jury. One involved whether there were other times when the McIvers had drank alcohol in their vehicle, as they had on the day of the shooting.
“There would be roadies — to-go drinks,” Carter replied.
Another asked whether the couple’s Ford Expedition had a Bluetooth device for the phone or a GPS system for directions. Carter said she didn’t know.
The lawyers are through with Carter. McBurney, the judge, has asked the jury if they have any questions for Carter. While they are figuring that out the court is in a short recess.
Skinny Cows and Cheese Nips.
Defense lawyer Bruce is now questioning Carter. He is suggesting that when Tex and Diane argued it was about trivial things like ‘who ate the last Skinny Cow ice cream?’ Or who ‘finished off the last of the Cheese Nip’ snack crackers? Harvey said Diane was concerned about her husband’s weight and that Tex took it in stride.
“He was always responsive to her chiding him about his weight,” Harvey said.
Rucker has finished questioning Carter.
Before he finished, Carter told jurors that Diane McIver was private about her marriage and that, about two years ago, she had seen the couple arguing after drinking. Tex shoved Diane out of the room and closed the door, she testified.
Rucker is trying to show that the McIvers’ marriage was not as idyllic as the defense team has painted it.
Carter also testified that soon after Diane died she asked Tex for a favorite cape of Diane’s to remember her friend. Tex replied that all his wife’s possessions were in the hands of the estate officials to be auctioned off and he couldn’t help. She never received the cape.
Carter provided a brief demonstration of how Tex McIver handled the .38 Revolver in the SUV immediately after shooting his wife. In the courtroom, Rucker handed Carter the gun, wrapped in a plastic Publix bag as it had been that night.
Carter testified that after Tex McIver fired the weapon she turned around in the driver’s seat saw him making a stroking gesture with his hand on the top of the gun. There was a puff of smoke surrounding the revolver.
She also said that as they drove up Piedmont Road just before the gun went off, she and Diane McIver were chatting about the Clermont Lounge, a dive bar and strip club on Ponce De Leon Ave., and a dancer there named Blondie.
Rucker is again taking Carter through the night of the shooting and Carter’s conversations with Tex McIver at Emory University Hospital as Diane McIver was fighting for her life.
Carter said Tex McIver scrolled through his phone and said, “this doesn’t look good.”
“He did look at me and say ‘I can’t go to jail,’” Carter testified.
McBurney seems intent on moving the trial along as it enters Day 7.
“This has already been asked and answered,” McBurney said to Rucker, one of several times he urged lawyers to pick up the pace.
Good morning. Court is back in session. Dani Jo Carter, the lone witness to the shooting and Diane McIver’s best friend, is on the stand for the third day in a row.
Yesterday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney suggested her testimony would be finished today before lunch. She is under redirect now from prosecutor Clint Rucker.
Did you miss a day of testimony?
Monday’s testimony: Lone witness to shooting says Tex McIver asked her to lie to police
Tuesday’s testimony: Tex McIver’s defense pits state’s star witness against herself.
Let our criminal justice reporter Bill Rankin lead you through the twists and turns of the McIver murder case. Listen to his Breakdown podcast to learn more about the case.
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