Tex McIver seeks bond after overturned murder conviction

Fulton prosecutors plan to retry case

Former Atlanta lawyer Claud “Tex” McIver is hoping to be released from jail following the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision to overturn his murder conviction in his wife’s shooting death.

The 79-year-old, who was transferred to the Fulton County Jail last month, has a bond hearing Friday morning before Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney.

The state Supreme Court in June overturned McIver’s murder conviction on grounds jurors should have been allowed to consider convicting the former attorney of a lesser manslaughter charge in the 2016 shooting of his wife Diane, 64.

At his trial, McIver was also convicted of influencing a witness and sentenced to five years in prison for that offense. He completed that sentence last month and has since been in jail hoping to get bond.

ExploreTex McIver murder conviction overturned

In a court filing, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said it plans to retry McIver. In July, Fulton prosecutors asked McBurney, who oversaw the case, to set a trial date within 180 days. The office said it will retry McIver on three charges: felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

The fatal shooting occurred Sept. 25, 2016, 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.

ExploreFulton DA announces intention to retry McIver for murder

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.

From the outset, 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.

ExploreComplete coverage of the Tex McIver murder trial

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.”

The DA’s office’s motion noted a jury “unanimously convicted McIver of intentional crimes of violence against his wife.” That fact “weighs heavily in the state’s consideration of how best to serve the interests of justice,” the motion said.

“The Supreme Court unanimously reversed the faulty conviction,” McIver’s lawyers, Don Samuel, Amanda Clark Palmer and Bruce Harvey, said in a statement. “Now, the prosecution brags that it is only seeking justice. It is better late than never, but justice would be recognizing that Tex McIver is entirely not guilty.”

The fifth season of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Breakdown podcast — “The Tex McIver Murder Case” — covered the entire trial and the decision overturning the conviction. McIver’s bond hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday.

Staff writer Bill Rankin contributed to this article.