The fatal shooting occurred Sept. 25, 2016, near Piedmont Park as the couple returned to Atlanta from their Putnam County ranch. After they entered the city, McIver asked for his .38-caliber revolver from the center console because he thought they had driven upon a Black Lives Matter protest, according to testimony.
McIver, with the gun in a plastic bag on his lap, was sitting in the back seat behind his wife. Her best friend, Dani Jo Carter, was driving the Ford Expedition.
After they stopped at a traffic light on Piedmont Avenue, McIver, who had fallen asleep, fired a shot through the front seat into his wife’s back. McIver directed Carter to take his wife to Emory University Hospital, where she died during surgery.
Tex and Diane McIver were seen as a well-to-do power couple. He was a labor lawyer with deep ties to the state Republican Party. She was an executive at U.S. Enterprises and worked for years for influential businessman Billy Corey.
McIver insisted his wife’s shooting was a tragic accident. But during the hotly contested trial, Fulton prosecutors convinced jurors that McIver was guilty of murder and argued he had a financial motivation to do it.
At his trial, the jury heard from 78 witnesses in testimony that spanned six weeks. The seven women and five men deliberated roughly 29 hours over five days before reaching a decision. The jury convicted McIver of felony murder, but acquitted him of malice murder, which would have meant the killing was intentional.
The prominent Atlanta attorney was also found guilty of four lesser charges, including aggravated assault, possession of firearm and and witness influencing.
In his opinion overturning the conviction, Chief Justice Michael Boggs wrote there was “thin” evidence of financial motive. “Indeed,” he wrote, “the state’s evidence of intent was weak, as no witness testified to any disagreement or quarrel between McIver and Diane, and many witnesses testified that they were very much in love.”
— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.