Criminal Justice

Former Fisher Phillips partner pleads guilty to lesser charge in fatal shooting of his wife

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Tex McIver sitting in court

Claud Lee “Tex” McIver III, shown here during jury selection in 2018, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Former Fisher Phillips partner Claud Lee “Tex” McIver III pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter on Friday for fatally shooting his wife while riding in an SUV in September 2016.

Judge Robert McBurney of Fulton County, Georgia, sentenced McIver, 81, to eight years in prison followed by seven years of probation, report Law360, the Associated Press and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

According to Law360, McIver pleaded guilty to three charges in all—involuntary manslaughter, reckless conduct and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. With credit for time served, McIver’s sentence will end in mid-2025, his lawyers told the Journal-Constitution. He could be released on parole before that date.

McIver was riding in the back seat of the SUV in Atlanta when he shot his wife, who was sitting in the passenger seat while a friend drove. McIver had maintained he was holding a gun because he feared the neighborhood they were riding in, and he accidentally shot his wife after falling asleep.

McIver was facing a second trial in his wife’s death after the Georgia Supreme Court reversed his April 2018 convictions for felony murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The appeals court ruled the judge in the first trial erred because he did not allow jurors to consider a conviction for misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter.

McBurney had limited evidence in the planned retrial, a decision that was on appeal. He had ruled prosecutors could not introduce evidence that McIver intended to kill his wife because jurors had acquitted him of malice murder in the first trial.

In court on Friday, McIver said his wife, Diane, was “the best friend I ever had” and he will always love her, according to accounts by the publications covering the plea.

“She died as a result of my actions, plain and simple,” McIver said. “I’ve worn my wedding ring since the day we were married, and I intend to wear it until the day I die. I hope we’re at a point where we’re not judging each other and we can all move on. She’s my angel and she’s waiting for me in heaven.”

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