Claud ‘Tex’ McIver: Retrial for lawyer convicted of killing wife, 4 years after he was sentenced to life
ATLANTA, GEORGIA: The Georgia Supreme Court overturned the previous ruling, which pronounced Claud 'Tex' Mclver guilty of killing his wife. It also granted the accused a retrial after a punctuated gap of four years since 2018. Following the incident in 2016, the jury held Mclver, 73, guilty of felony murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment. He was serving his sentence at Long State Prison in Georgia.
The events on the evening of September 25, 2016, will be revisited as the court claimed the accused could face a less stringent sentence considering the nature of the crime was "involuntary". Mclver had shot his wife, Diane Mclver, with a revolver "accidentally" as he was asleep in the backseat of their car. The driver — a childhood friend of Diane's — drove them to a nearby hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries the next morning.
With their history of involvement in politics and various activities in their community together, the couple's relationship was perceived as amicable, and their relationship stable, according to multiple witnesses testimonies, the court noted. In the original verdict, however, the jury pointed out several plausible reasons —including the inheritance of Diane's estate and auctioning her belongings after her death — as the motive for why Mclver could have intentionally murdered his wife.
There was a fair amount of back-and-forth, which involved testimonies from the driver, Dani, two doctors about the possibility of Mclver falling asleep in the car, colleagues, and friends, as accounted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The defense had established, through the expert testimony of Dr David Rye, that Mclver suffered from a REM sleep disorder. Multiple jurors also took turns sitting in Mclver's vehicle to determine all possible angles and positions from where one could trigger a gun while lurching. Taking a note of all the aforementioned statements, the GA Supreme Court asserted, "the jury could have concluded that the revolver was not deliberately or intentionally fired, but rather, as McIver suggests, discharged as a result of his being startled awake, reflexively or involuntarily clutching at the bag holding the firearm, and inadvertently contacting the trigger".
In an older hearing in 2016, Mclver's lawyers had labelled him "virtually a hermit" and he was devastated after Diane's death. The news to them, therefore, came as glad tidings, and they were "delighted" that Mclver would be given a "fair trial", as told in a statement to CNN. In 2018 after the trial, the lead prosecutor Clint Rucker was given the Assistant District Attorney of the Year award for fighting the case against Mclver. There has been no statement from the District Attorney's office so far, but the defense is already prepared to file a bond motion. As traditional bond hearings, this will determine if Mclver is a threat to the community. They spoke with CNN about being hopeful that the judge would grant him this bond pending trial.