Ex-attorney’s felony murder conviction overturned in 2022
The Georgia Supreme Court in 2022 overturned Tex McIver’s 2018 conviction. McIver was initially convicted of felony murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the 2016 shooting death of wife Diane McIver.
A former Atlanta attorney previously convicted of killing his wife could be released from prison next year after taking a plea deal on Jan. 26, according to his attorney.
Claud Lee “Tex” McIver III pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in exchange for an eight-year prison sentence — a drastic change from the life sentence he initially received in 2018 — and he is “immediately eligible for parole,” attorney Amanda Clark Palmer told Fox News Digital.
“He will ‘max out’ in the fall of 2025, meaning that he must be released by that date,” Clark Palmer said in a statement. “Through parole, there is a possibility that he can be released earlier. Theoretically, the parole board could decide to release him today, but as a practical matter I believe it will take them some months to arrive at a decision given that Mr. McIver is not the only inmate they have to evaluate and consider for parole.”
Clark Palmer added that the “disposition is one that all the parties felt was a reasonable way to resolve the case at this point.”
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Claud Lee “Tex” McIver III (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP/File)
Fulton County (Georgia) Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney described the plea deal as “a healthier and cleaner way” to achieve justice than a retrial, adding that Diane was “a bright light that was snuffed out,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“Diane’s the best friend I ever had. She’s the best partner I could possibly imagine, and I will always, always love her,” McIver said in court on Jan. 26, according to AJC. “She died as a result of my actions, plain and simple. I’ve worn my wedding ring since the day we were married, and I intend to wear it until the day I die. I hope we’re at a point where we’re not judging each other and we can all move on. She’s my angel, and she’s waiting for me in heaven.”
“Mr. McIver shouldn’t have had that loaded gun in his hand with his finger on the trigger,” the judge said. “For those who seek purely punishment through this process, you’re going to be disappointed.”
Tex McIver was sentenced to eight years in prison on Jan. 26 after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection to his wife’s 2016 shooting death. (FOX 5 Atlanta)
McIver was initially convicted in 2018 of felony murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the 2016 shooting death of his late wife, Diane McIver, which McIver maintains was an accident.
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The Georgia Supreme Court reversed McIver’s initial conviction in 2022 after he filed his appeal in 2020.
On the evening of Sept. 25, 2016, McIver, Diane and Diane’s friend, “Dani Jo Carter, were on their way back from a weekend at the McIvers’ property in Putnam County, driving to Diane’s condominium in the Buckhead area of Atlanta after a stop for dinner in Conyers,” then-Presiding Justice Michael Boggs wrote in the Supreme Court ruling at the time. Tex was in the back passenger seat, Diane was in the front passenger seat, and Carter was driving.
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Due to heavy traffic in Atlanta, the trio took a detour and got off an exit at Edgewood Avenue.
McIver was initially convicted in 2018 of felony murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony in his wife’s 2016 shooting death. (FOX 5 Atlanta)
“Girls, I wish you hadn’t done this. This is a really bad area,” McIver said before asking Diane to hand him his .38-caliber revolver, which was inside a plastic bag in the center console.
While stopped at a traffic light later on, Diane locked the doors, and Carter testified that she heard a loud “boom.” McIver had fired the gun, still in the plastic bag, and a bullet went through Diane’s seat and struck her in the back. They drove to Emory University Hospital, where Carter and McIver told officials that the shooting had been an accident.
“Diane died during surgery as a result of internal injuries to her spine, pancreas, kidney, and stomach,” Boggs wrote.
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McIver and Diane had been married 11 years, and they were both each other’s second spouses.
Diane McIver and Tex McIver were married 11 years before Tex fatally shot her in what he maintains was an accident. (FOX 5 Atlanta)
Prosecutors argued that the defendant changed his story multiple times, saying the gun went off accidentally while he was asleep and the gun went off accidentally when they drove over a bump in the road. Additionally, a nurse testified that she overhead McIver say, “I was cleaning my gun in the bathroom when I shot her.”
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A firearms expert testified that the gun was in good working condition and would not have fired without the trigger being pulled. McIver’s defense argued that the bullet trajectory showed the gun could have been resting sideways on his lap when it was discharged.
Prosecutors also alleged that McIver was financially motivated to kill his wife, who had “regularly transferred money to McIver,” increasing his net worth from approximately $1.5 million to somewhere between $5.9 million and $6.9 million,” court records state.
Claud “Tex” McIver, left, sits with his attorneys, Don Samuel, center, and Bruce Harvey after being sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole at the Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta on May 23, 2018. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS/Sipa USA)
In his appeal, the defendant argued that prosecutors implied he “harbored racial prejudice” against people in the area where he was driving when he asked for his gun.
“He [i.e., McIver] was concerned because of the people that were around, homeless people, maybe they were carjackers. I didn’t know who they all were. Maybe they were Black Lives Matter protesters,” a witness said during his 2018 trial.
Boggs cautioned “the State and the trial court to be mindful of the impropriety of such arguments if there is a retrial” and described “several portions of the State’s closing argument” as “questionable.”
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“We note particularly and with disapproval the prosecutor’s display of a PowerPoint slide with a bullet point reading ‘KKK’ during his closing argument. Questioned at oral argument in this Court, the State ultimately acknowledged that no evidence was produced at trial to support any inference that the Ku Klux Klan was relevant to this case,” Boggs wrote.
The Georgia Supreme Court ultimately decided that the state did not “abuse its discretion in admitting this evidence” in accusing McIver of harboring a racial bias.
Audrey Conklin is a digital reporter for Fox News Digital and FOX Business. Email tips to [email protected] or on Twitter at @audpants.