ATLANTA (AP) — Lawyers for a man convicted of murder for fatally shooting his wife as they were riding in an SUV in Atlanta say he did not have a fair trial and are asking the Georgia Supreme Court to rule his quash conviction.

Claud “Tex” McIver, 79, is serving a life sentence after being convicted of felony murder and other charges in the 2016 shooting death of his wife, 64-year-old Diane McIver.

It was never disputed that McIver shot his wife – the question at trial was whether he intended to. Prosecutors said he was driven to kill her because he coveted his wife’s money. Defense attorneys said that was nonsense, that McIver loved his wife dearly and that her death was a horrific accident.

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McIver was convicted of murder and aggravated assault, among other things, in April 2018. The Georgia Supreme Court will hear its appeal of his convictions orally on Wednesday.

The McIvers were wealthy and well connected. He was a partner in a well-known employment law firm and a member of the state election board. She was President of US Enterprises Inc., the parent company of Corey Airport Services, where she worked for 43 years.

Dani Jo Carter, a close friend of Diane McIver, was driving the couple’s Ford Expedition on the evening of September 25, 2016 when the three returned from a weekend at the McIvers horse farm about 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Atlanta. Diane McIver was in the front passenger seat and Tex McIver was in the back seat behind his wife.

Because the interstate was busy, Carter exited the downtown Atlanta exit. McIver asked his wife to get his gun from the center console and hand it to him. A short time later, McIver fired the gun once, hitting his wife in the back. Carter drove to a hospital where Diane McIver died.


A family friend told news outlets days after the shooting that the McIvers were worried about unrest surrounding the Black Lives Matter protests and feared a carjacking. A few days later, McIver’s then-lawyer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the concerns weren’t about protesters, but about people on the streets in an area frequented by homeless people.

Police charged McIver with involuntary manslaughter and reckless misdemeanor in 2016. But a Fulton County grand jury in 2017 charged him with murder, among other charges.

In their appeal, McIver’s attorneys have argued that Fulton County Superior Court Chief Justice Robert McBurney made several errors during the trial and the conviction should be overturned.

McBurney was wrong in refusing to tell a jury that they could find McIver guilty of involuntary manslaughter based on evidence at the trial, McIver’s attorneys argue in a brief submitted to the Supreme Court. Georgian law states that if there is evidence that a defendant committed a lesser crime, the jury should be given that option, they wrote. Involuntary manslaughter is when someone unlawfully engages in lawful conduct that unintentionally results in death.

Prosecutors argue that McBurney was correct in his instructions to the jury. There was no basis for an involuntary manslaughter charge as no evidence showed McIver was acting lawfully when the gun was fired and his handling of the gun constituted reckless conduct, they wrote. Additionally, prosecutors argue, the jury ultimately convicted McIver of aggravated assault and murder, not involuntary manslaughter, and the court’s decision not to include indictment of involuntary manslaughter is unlikely to have affected the verdict.

McBurney’s attorneys wrote that it was also unacceptable that McBurney allowed the jury during their deliberations to examine the McIvers’ SUV and experiment with possible angles of the shot.

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The state has countered that the jury was allowed to view the SUV during the trial and that no new evidence was admitted at this second viewing.

When the jury sent out a notice saying they were at an impasse, it was wrong that the judge didn’t tell them not to sacrifice a firmly held conviction and that a hung jury was permissible when he ordered them to proceed advise, argue McIver’s attorneys. However, prosecutors argue that McBurney properly exercised his discretion in issuing the order and that McIver’s attorneys have failed to establish that the judgment was the result of coercion.

McBurney should not have allowed prosecutors to unnecessarily speculate but baseless theories about McIver’s motive for killing his wife and suggest racial bias, his attorneys argue. This evidence only served to bias the jury against McIver, they wrote.

Prosecutors argue the financial evidence was necessary to show his motive and intent, and the references to Black Lives Matter were one of several conflicting stories McIver told about why he asked for his gun.