Jury selection in the murder trial of Atlanta attorney Claud “Tex” McIver has entered its second day. McIver is charged with murder, felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and three counts of influencing witnesses surrounding the death of his wife, Diane McIver. Prosecutors have also accused McIver of bribery.
The jurors, once seated, will have to determine whether Diane McIver’s death was accidental or criminal. The reported facts are as follows. On September 25, 2016, a friend was driving the McIvers when she got off of a highway because it was backed up. Tex McIver, who was asleep in the back seat, woke up and took out a gun because he believed he was in a bad neighborhood and saw people in the street. Diane McIver was in the front passenger seat. At some point, the gun held by Tex McIver went off. McIver later claimed he had fallen asleep again, and that when the car stopped, he lurched forward and accidentally pulled the trigger. He is said to have asked immediately if anyone was hurt. A bullet had traveled through the seat and struck Diane. The driver of the car, Dani Jo Carter, who was Diane McIver’s best friend, at first thought Diane was joking when she said she thought she had been shot. Carter realized it was real when she looked over and saw blood, according to reports. Carter drove to Emory University Hospital, passing two closer hospitals, because she believed the more distant hospital to be better. There, Diane McIver is said to have whispered that the shooting was an accident before ultimately dying during surgery.
Prosecutors had to re-indict McIver at one point because of errors with the original indictment. They allege McIver had a financial motive to kill his wife, who was a business executive. Prosecutors have said they plan to call 100 witnesses during the trial. The defense has sought to keep from the jury any evidence about the victim having a second will, any evidence about other hospitals closer to the scene of the shooting, evidence of an estate sale after Diane McIver’s death, evidence of Tex McIver’s demeanor at the hospital after the shooting, and the medical examiner’s conclusion that the cause of death was “homicide.” (A medical examiner’s use of the word carries a different definition from the criminal law use of the word.)
The judge ruled most of that evidence will, however, make it into the trial. The judge cautioned prosecutors not to make McIver’s fears about being in a supposed “bad neighborhood” appear racial in nature.
Jury selection Monday became problematic when a juror told the judge that members of the jury pool were exposed to reports about the case during a bus ride to court. Law&Crime reached out to court administrators for comment and clarification, but we have not yet received a response.
Watch the jury selection process in the player above courtesy WSB-TV.