ATLANTA – Day one of jury selection in the high-profile murder trial of a prominent Atlanta attorney is over, and 12 of the potential 48 jurors said they had already formed opinions on the case.
Claud “Tex” McIver is accused of intentionally killing his wife, Diane McIver, in September 2016. Diane died after being shot in the back with a handgun. Tex is charged with malice murder and six other counts, including three counts of efforts to unlawfully influence witnesses in the case.
During the first day of jury selection, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney laid down ground rules on what key pieces of evidence would be allowed in the trial.
The ruling gave the prosecution a little more leeway to make their case after ruling that they could talk about the estate sale Tex had just weeks after Diane died, selling off her furs, jewelry, and clothing for thousands of dollars. The judge said it goes to his state of mind.
The other key ruling is that the prosecution can bring up comments made by McIver’s spokesman right after the shooting. Bill Crane told the media Tex McIver was scared of the Black Lives Matter protests happening in Atlanta around the time of the shooting, and that’s why he asked his wife to hand him his gun before he shot her.
Jury selection in the case is expected to last through the week, and right now, attorneys have only gotten through about 20 jurors, many of whom were excused on the first day.
At least two jurors told the judge during jury selection that they heard a news report about the case on the jury bus en route to court. They said the bus driver had the news on the radio and everyone on board heard what was being reported about McIver.
It is not confirmed how many potential jurors were on board, but 12 of the initial 48 potential jurors said they already formed an opinion on the case. McIver’s trial is expected to last a month, and could result in more than 90 witnesses being called.
On Sept. 25, 2016, McIver's wife Diane died after being shot while riding in an SUV near Piedmont Park. Her husband, a prominent attorney, said he was dozing in the backseat of the vehicle when his revolver fired. He has always maintained the shooting was "a terrible accident."
McIver had initially been charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct and felony involuntary manslaughter.
That September, he was released on $200,000 bond, with conditions that included the wearing of an ankle monitor, surrendering his passport and having no contact with anyone employed with Diane's business. At the time, he was also told he was not allowed to carry any weapons. That bond was revoked, however, after a gun was found inside his Buckhead condominium. Prosecutors said they also believed Tex was hiding a secret will that his wife drafted prior to her death.
The following April 2017, a Fulton County grand jury returned an indictment upping McIver's charges to malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and three counts of influencing a witness.
According to the indictment, Tex McIver is accused of instructing the woman driving the SUV at the time of the shooting, Dani Jo Carter, to tell authorities that she was not present when Diane was shot.
The indictment also states that McIver told Charles William Crane to retract a statement that Crane made to news media after the shooting.
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