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Tex McIver's conviction reversed | How we got here

The high-profile Buckhead attorney was convicted of killing his wife in 2018. Now, the Georgia Supreme Court has thrown out the murder conviction.

ATLANTA — Nearing the close of its session, the Georgia Supreme Court has reversed the conviction for felony murder of former high-profile Buckhead attorney Claud Lee "Tex" McIver. He was accused of killing his wife in 2016 and convicted in her death two years after.

It's the latest move in a winding murder trial that made national headlines. McIver's attorneys appealed his 2018 conviction to the state's highest court earlier this year and now have another chance at clearing his name.

Here's a timeline of the case.

Sept. 25, 2016 - Diane McIver's death

Diane McIver, 63, 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 called the shooting "a terrible accident." 

The couple was traveling home from their Eatonton ranch with their best friend, a woman known as Dani Jo, behind the wheel. Diane was in the passenger seat. Tex was in the back seat.

After the shooting, the group went to Emory University Hospital where Diane went into surgery. She did not survive.

December 2016 - Estate sale nets nearly $68,000

Peachtree Battle Estate Sales and Liquidations hosted more than 2,000 items from Diane McIver's estate a few months after the businesswoman's death. 

The sale, which spanned multiple days in early December, sold much of her designer clothing and belongings. After paying the estate sale company's commission, Tex McIver made nearly $68,000.

No charges had been filed in her shooting death up to this point.

Dec. 22, 2016 - Tex McIver booked into jail

Tex McIver turned himself in to the Fulton County Jail on a felony involuntary manslaughter charge. In his first court appearance following, a judge granted him $200,000 bond.

He was required to surrender his passport and to wear an ankle monitor. McIver was ordered to have no contact with people employed at Diane McIver’s workplace or the woman who drove the SUV when the shot was fired. He was not allowed to carry any weapons.

January 2017 - Auctioning more of Diane's items

Between Jan. 14 and 17, 2017, the rest of his late wife's belongings were auctioned. Those items were more valuable in nature than the estate sale, and included things like fur coats and expensive jewelry. The auction netted around $119,000 for McIver. Combined, the estate sale and auction brought in about $187,000 for Tex.

April 26, 2017 - McIver's bond revoked

A judge revoked McIver's bond after a gun was found inside his Buckhead condominium.

April 27, 2017 - McIver indicted on more charges

A day after his bond is revoked, a Fulton grand jury indicts McIver on new charges as part of the district attorney's investigation into the shooting.

McIver, at this point, was facing 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.

October 2017 - Trial delayed

A Fulton County judge delays McIver's trial which was scheduled to begin at the end of the month. 

December 2017 - McIver out

With his trial delay, McIver posts bond and leaves the Fulton County Jail.

March 5, 2018 - Jury selection begins

More than two years after Diane's death, and after a nearly five-month trial delay, jury selection begins in Fulton County.

April 17, 2018 - Jury begins deliberations

For weeks, prosecutors argued McIver had a financial motive for shooting and killing his wife, a wealthy businesswoman. However, defense attorneys for McIver contradicted these allegations saying that the shooting was nothing more than a tragic accident.

After weeks of testimony, including allowing jurors to sit in the vehicle to recreate the alleged murder scene, the jury was left to decide if McIver was guilty of intentionally killing his wife.

April 23, 2018 - McIver convicted

After days of deliberating, a jury found McIver guilty of intentionally killing his wife two years ago. 

McIver faced four charges connected to her death including:

  • Count 1: Malice murder
  • Count 2: Felony murder
  • Count 3: Aggravated assault
  • Count 4: Possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony

The jury found him guilty on all counts except count one. He also faced a fifth count of witness influencing involving an exchange he had with family friend Dani Joe Carter. The jury found him guilty on that count, as well. 

In a statement to 11Alive, McIver's legal team said they planned to appeal the ruling.

He was scheduled to be sentenced a month after his conviction.

RELATED: 'It wasn't accidental.' Jurors explain why they found Tex McIver guilty

May 21, 2018 - Wrongful death lawsuit filed

Days before McIver would be sentenced, the administrator of his wife's estate, Mary Margaret Oliver in DeKalb County filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the him. It also lists Dani Jo Carter, a friend of the married couple as a defendant in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claimed McIver and Carter were negligent in Diane's death. 

May 23, 2018 - Sentenced to life

A judge sentenced McIver to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors asked that four people be allowed to come forward to deliver victim impact statements -- including Dani Joe Carter, the woman driving the SUV on the night that Diane was killed.

"Tex McIver lied to me," Carter said as she began her statement. She expressed how upset she was to have Diane, her friend of more than 40 years to die in front of her.

As she concluded her brief statement, she looked pointedly at McIver and said, "I stand for Diane."

January 2022 - McIver's attorneys appeal to Georgia Supreme Court

McIver's legal team kept to their word and appealed his conviction to the state Supreme Court on the grounds "that "the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter," which impacted his sentencing.

Attorneys also faulted the trial, saying the court permitted the prosecution to introduce what he and his legal team call improper evidence. Such evidence relates to racial bias and unfounded theories related to McIver's motive, according to court records.

June 30, 2022 - Georgia's Supreme Court overturns conviction

The highest court in the state granted McIver a new trial and overturned his conviction nearly five years after Diane's death.

McIver's legal team argued the jury was not properly instructed to consider a less charge of involuntary manslaughter and the high court sided with this reasoning.

"We conclude that the trial court erred in refusing McIver’s request to charge on the lesser grade of involuntary manslaughter, because the charge was authorized by law and some evidence supported the giving of the charge," the Court ruled. "We further conclude that the failure to give the charge was not harmless error, because we cannot say that it is highly probable that this error did not contribute to the jury’s verdicts. We therefore reverse McIver’s convictions for felony murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony."

Read the court's full opinion here.

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