Prosecutors believe Atlanta attorney Claud “Tex” McIver killed his wife for her money, but an investigator acknowledged on Tuesday that they have yet to find a key piece of evidence: the revised will they say the wife was crafting.
Still, they say the search is far from over.
Fulton County prosecutors have based much of their case on their belief that business executive Diane McIver was crafting a second will that diminished her husband’s claim to her wealth. They’ve used it to ask for search warrants for the McIvers’ Buckhead condo and Putnam County ranch. And they’ve asserted that the revised will speaks to Tex McIver’s motive for killing his wife.
But Johnna Griffin, an investigator for the district attorney’s office, said during a pre-trial hearing that almost a year after Diane McIver’s shooting death, investigators have yet to locate the so-called second will.
“I’m still searching for that,” Griffin said during a hearing before Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney.
Even as the high-profile case moves toward an Oct. 30 trial date, the McIver story has become a mystery in which the killer is known. The question is not whether Tex McIver shot and killed his wife. He’s acknowledged that. The question is whether it was a mistake, as he maintains, or murder, the charge leveled against him.
McIver shot and killed Diane McIver while they were driving near Piedmont Park on Sept. 25.
McIver’s defense attorneys have said that while the McIvers discussed a new will in order to benefit their young godson Austin, the couple never completed it.
On Tuesday, investigator Terri Jackson, a former member of the Fulton DA’s office who worked on the McIver case, said that an employee of Diane McIver recalled that her boss had asked her to make copies of a document. The employee said her boss identified it as her new will.
On the other hand, defense attorney William Hill questioned attorney Harold Hudson on the stand. Hudson said he had discussed with the McIvers the prospect of crafting a revised will for Diane, but it never came to fruition.
Hudson said the revised will would add new language regarding the couple’s ranch in Putnam County. Diane and Tex McIver each owned half of it.
Hudson had suggested some changes that would save the couple money on taxes, but Diane objected to the plan. She wanted the ranch to pass to the couple’s godson, not to Tex’s children, he said.
“They were both very keen on Austin,” he said.
Stephen Maples, another McIver defense attorney, said the couple eventually agreed to leave the ranch to the godson, but never got around to finalizing any will. That will would not have disadvantaged Tex McIver, he said.
Prosecutors, for their part, noted that while they have yet to turn up any revised will, they still have some 30 boxes of the McIvers’ papers, financial records and computers to go through. That search has been held up while McIver’s attorneys fight to suppress any evidence seized in these searches, which they assert were done illegally.
Hill has said that the defense has nothing to hide in seeking to suppress the evidence, but he feels the searches violated the law and his client’s constitutional rights.
On Tuesday, Hill asserted that investigator Griffin did not have the authority to obtain the search warrants because, he said, she had not been deputized by the Fulton County sheriff.
Griffin, for her part, asserted that she had the authority as a peace officer of the state.
Judge McBurney instructed both sides to submit legal arguments regarding the issue.