New charges, questions in Atlanta shooting death of Diane McIver
01/09/2017 4:57 pm PST
A huge development in a shooting death we first brought you out of Georgia: A wife was shot in the back by her husband while he's sitting in the back of their car. He claims it was an accident -- but police say it was something else.
The mysterious murder of a wealthy businesswoman, shot and killed while traveling from her family farm to her home in an exclusive Atlanta neighborhood.
Now, in a stunning development, her husband, powerful attorney Claud "Tex" McIver is being charged in her death as new allegations come to light.
The Fulton County medical examiner called Diane's death a homicide. That was the start of a firestorm of controversy that's now burning hotter than ever. Something didn't add up. And the man who says it was a tragic mistake is facing the heat.
A family spokesman says Tex and Diane were heading back home after a weekend trip to their family farm. Driving them back was Diane's longtime friend Dani Jo Carter. According to the family spokesperson, Tex naps in the backseat while Diane and Dani Jo talk up front.
"The spokesperson's story about what happened next kept changing," said WGCL reporter Natalie Rubino. "First he said that Tex asked for his gun after they drove by a large Atlanta homeless shelter. Then the story changed. He said that Tex asked for his gun because he was afraid of Black Lives Matter protests that had previously happened in that area before, and then after getting backlash from the community, the story changed for a third time, he added that Tex was afraid of getting carjacked."
The spokesman says Diane handed a jittery Tex a small .38-caliber revolver he kept in the vehicle's center console.
"And Tex fell back to sleep. McIver's attorney then says that Tex woke up to the sound of a gunshot," said Rubino. "And realized that the gun went off while Tex was holding it."
Diane slumps, bleeding from the gunshot wound. Terrified and panicked, Dani Jo and Tex reportedly race Diane to the hospital, but Diane McIver dies in the emergency room.
In a telephone interview, a distraught Tex tells reporter Natalie Rubino, from Crime Watch Daily Atlanta affiliate WGCL, that it was a terrible accident.
"I spoke to Tex about two weeks after the shooting," said Rubino. "He said it was an accident and he's living with a lot of guilt right now."
But for many watching the drama unfold, tex's story doesn't add up, starting right from that fatal gunshot.
The Fulton County medical examiner took a close look at Diane's gunshot wound. In the report they found that the entrance wound was "not irregular." That led to a statement: "The projectile did not pass through an intermediate target."
"This was very confusing because we were given pictures by Tex's attorneys that showed the seat with the bullet hole in it," said Rubino. "I spoke to the doctor after the report was released and he said it's possible the bullet passed through the seat, but not likely."
The medical examiner's report and statement raises some serious questions. If the bullet did not pass through the seat, does that mean Diane was shot directly in the back, and what does that do to Tex's story? And could the bullet hole in the seat have been staged?
There is another mystery: The fatal bullet. The medical examiner's report shows there were "No projectiles identified from Diane's body." So what happened to the bullet?
"We don't know where the bullet is," said reporter Natalie Rubino. "Tex McIver's attorney says they don't have it. And Atlanta Police say they can't confirm or deny that they have it. Law enforcement experts who I talked to say that the bullet can tell us a lot, including what kind of gun that was used, as well as whether the bullet passed through the car seat before hitting Diane."
And there is something else raising eyebrows in this strange case: What Tex and Dani Jo did immediately after Diane was shot. The panicked pair didn't call 911 -- instead they head for Emory University Hospital.
"Diane was taken five miles away in a different county instead of three other hospitals that were closer by," said Rubino. "They took her to that hospital because Tex believes it's the best hospital in the Southeast. They also said they didn't call 911 because they didn't want to waste time."
After three months of investigation, Claud "Tex" McIver surrenders to police and is charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, and felony involuntary manslaughter.
At the center of new suspicion are Tex's finances. Just a week after Tex posts a $200,000 bond to get out of jail, WGCL uncovered a stunning detail in the couple's finances: Tex owed Diane money. Lots of it. According to the agreement, in December 2011, Tex borrowed $350,000 from his fabulously wealthy wife. It was supposed to be paid back, with interest, by December 2014. Tex failed to do that. So Diane gave her husband an extension to December 2017.
And in a move that also raised eyebrows, Tex put a treasure trove of Diane's luxury clothes and jewelry up for auction, more than 2,000 items, just two months after her death. His lawyers said the auction provides the cash to pay the people Diane named in her will.
Investigators have also found this isn't the first time Tex has gotten in trouble packing a pistol. In 1990, a grand jury indicted him, 15 years before his marriage to Diane, when Tex was accused of firing his gun at a car full of teenagers who were parked in front of his house. Published reports show McIver denied firing a gun. He was quoted as saying he went outside to investigate a suspicious car because he was worried about burglaries and vandalism in the neighborhood.
Dani Jo Carter's attorney says Dani Jo does dispute some of the statements that Tex's spokesman had previously made. The biggest one? Tex's claim that his gun discharged when their car hit a bump in the road.
"Her attorney says Dani Jo tells him that's not true -- the car was stopped at a traffic light when the fatal shot was fired," said Rubino.
The case is now going before a grand jury.
Currently Tex has pleaded not guilty and his charges stand at involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct.