ATLANTA -- A Fulton County judge is deciding whether to release accused murderer Tex McIver on bond. McIver is a 74-year-old Atlanta attorney who says he killed his wife by accident.
During a hearing Tuesday, prosecutors contended that McIver is trying to use his experience and influence as an attorney to influence witnesses in his murder case.
Bearded and dressed in institutional Fulton County denim, McIver was in court to find a way to await trial outside of jail custody.
"There is no evidence of intent to take a human life. If anyone is entitled to bond, it sure is Mr. McIver," his attorney William Hill said in court.
McIver doesn’t deny that he shot his wife Diane while they rode in an SUV last September. He contends he did it accidentally as he slept with a loaded pistol in his lap. While in jail, Prosecutors contend McIver made phone calls in an effort to influence witnesses and a superior court judge who works down the hall from the judge in his case.
"He is very well connected and if you listen to him, he’s got the financial resources to kind of reach out to folks who he thinks can influence what happens to him in this process," said Clint Rucker, chief assistant district attorney.
McIver said he tried to exert that influence in phone calls and conversations with visitors at the Fulton County Jail, where he's been since his bond was revoked in April.
Hill said the conversations weren't as sinister as prosecutors contended. "The reasonable interpretation is you've got an individual who is frustrated about being in jail and wants to get out. And he’s complaining to his friends," Hill said.
After he was arrested and granted bond, McIver turned over his collection of 35 handguns, rifles and shotguns to the sheriff of Putnam County.
McIver’s collection of guns at his Putnam County ranch is easy to explain, according to Hill.
"Twice a year Mr. McIver has a quail hunt and he has a wild pig hunt" at his ranch, Hill said in court. The guns, Hill says, are loaned out to hunters on his property.
Prosecutors contend McIver killed his wife intentionally. They wanted his gun collection delivered to the courtroom to demonstrate that the shooting was no accident.
"In fact, Mr. McIver is an expert as it relates to the operation handling and firing of guns and in particular the gun that caused the death of his wife," Rucker said.
But Hill said the collection isn't unusual. "In Putnam County, 30 guns is not a lot of guns," Hill said.
Hill said the request to deliver the guns to the courtroom was a stunt by prosecutors. The judge plans to issue an order on whether or not the guns can appear in the courtroom – just as he plans to issue an order whether to allow bond for McIver.