Criminal Justice

Lawyer asked his 'darlin' ' for a gun before falling asleep and fatally shooting her, defense says

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Marian Weyo/

Prominent Atlanta lawyer Claud “Tex” McIver had a loving relationship with his wife before he fatally shot her, defense lawyer Bruce Harvey stressed in court on Tuesday during a cross-examination that was at times more of a monologue.

Harvey maintains McIver was asleep when he killed his wife while riding in the back seat of an SUV in September 2016. Harvey said McIver often referred to his wife as “darling” and used the word in his last words to her, reports.

“Darlin’, would you hand me my gun?” McIver reportedly asked his wife.

Harvey emphasized facts favoring his client, who is charged with murder, as he questioned the woman who was driving the SUV, Dani Jo Carter. McIver’s wife, Diane, was in the passenger seat, according to the story and coverage by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Harvey says his client had asked for the gun because he thought the neighborhood they were driving in was unsafe, but he fell asleep with the gun in his lap. “Y’all were talking. Tex hasn’t said another word, right?” Harvey asked Carter.

“I assumed he was asleep,” Carter said. “I’m pretty sure.”

During the questioning, Carter acknowledged that McIver had a sleep disorder that made it difficult for him to distinguish between dreams and reality. Sometimes he would “lash out” while asleep, she testified.

Harvey pointed to a detective’s summary of Carter’s statements after the shooting in which she called the couple “lovebirds” and said she had no doubt that it was a horrible accident.

McIver, 75, is a former partner at Fisher & Phillips. Prosecutors have introduced evidence that the law firm had demoted him from an equity to an income partner, and his income had dropped by more than half from his first years of partnership to his final year at the firm. He was the primary beneficiary of his wife’s 2006 will.

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