(Photo Credit: Maria Boynton/Entercom Atlanta)

Prosecuting Tex McIver: How They Did It

Lawyers take down lawyer accused of murdering his wife

Maria Boynton
May 02, 2018 - 1:48 pm
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"Guns just don't go off", says Chief Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Clint Rucker. He and his team apparently convinced a jury of that last week when the panel returned guilty verdicts on 4 counts against Atlanta lawyer Claud "Tex" McIver in the murder of his wife Diane. According to Rucker, "Mr. McIver has made many, many different statements about how the gun actually fired, but one thing we do know is that that gun was in perfect working condition, and in order to make it fire, you have to pull the trigger." They searched McIver's ranch, Rucker says, and they found more than 40 weapons, all of which McIver, according to the prosecutor, had demonstrated expertise with.

McIver claimed that he accidentally shot his wife in the back, while they were riding in their SUV. She was in the front passenger seat, he was seated directly behind her. They had a driver. It happened on September 25, 2016, as the couple drove from their ranch to their Atlanta home. He claimed to have been frightened by some "potential car jackers", and asked for his gun. Then, he said he fell asleep when he felt safe.

The defense even asserted that McIver had a sleep disorder and that may have been the reason he discharged the gun resulting in shooting his wife. But, Attorney Adam Abbate, also with the Fulton County District Attorney's office, says they were able to show that McIver was not in a state of deep sleep, which the defense maintained McIver was in when he accidentally fired the weapon.

Members of the Fulton County D.A. team of attorneys: Rucker, Abbate, Selete Griffin, Siri Yellamraju, along with investigators Cynthia Nwokocha and Johnna Griffin, all talked about their determination in making sure that McIver is punished for what he did to Diane McIver.

According to Griffin, in presenting the prosecution's opening statement, "I wanted to lay out all of the evidence that we had gathered over this year-and-a-half long investigation, and I wanted to make sure that we could convey to the jury, in simple terms, what the evidence was going to show, and what we expected to prove at the end of the presentation of the state's case." Griffin says she also wanted to make sure that the jury got a sense of who Diane McIver was, because she was not there to speak for herself. "It was our job to let the jury understand exactly how she was and exactly what happened on the night of September 25th."

Six weeks later, McIver was found guilty of felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm in commission of a felony, and influencing witnesses.

Attorney Yellamraju says they are all very proud of how they "came together as a team, worked very hard, lots of hours, lots of days." Echoing the sentiments of her boss, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Yellamraju calls Fulton County "a special place", because "I don't know if you could convict someone like Tex McIver, someone who's so politically connected, such a high-powered attorney, and really make him pay his dues for what he did, face the consequences." She adds, "It's like we're a family now, and had a good win for our community."