Diane McIver, 63, was a shrewd, successful, and hardworking businesswoman in Atlanta, Georgia. She was also a very generous and caring person who took excellent care of the people who were closest to her. As an affluent member of society, she made significant donations to local Republican political campaigns and causes as well. All of this is why her sudden and untimely death came as such a shock to her loved ones and the Georgia community at large.
A verdict for this extremely high-profile case was reached just last spring, and it’s important that all of the facts are delivered to the public as accurately as possible.
|About Diane McIver|
|Known As||Diane Smith|
|Birth||July 21, 1953 Auburn, Alabama|
|Death||September 26, 2016 Emory Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia|
|Spouse||Claud "Tex" McIver 2005-2016|
|Job||President, U.S. Enterprises|
Our Diane McIver wiki tells you everything you need to know about the business mogul, how she died, and the man who was the prime suspect in her killing from the very beginning.
Diane McIver Was a Self-Made Millionaire
As far as rags-to-riches stories go, Diane Smith McIver’s isn’t necessarily anything out of the ordinary.
Diane Smith had a modest, middle-class upbringing and her relationship with her mother was volatile from the very beginning. Smith vowed that she would move out of her parents’ house by the age of 18.
In 1973, at the age of 20, Smith started working for Corey Airport Services in Atlanta, Georgia as a telephone operator. Under the tutelage of Billy Corey, her mentor and the owner of the conglomerate Corey Companies, she quickly made her way up the corporate ladder and eventually became the president of U.S. Enterprises.
Through hard work, dedication, and tenacity, Smith managed to amass a small fortune over the course of her career. She had a taste for the finer things in life and this was exemplified through her lavish lifestyle and many expensive belongings.
A self-made millionaire and workaholic, Diane Smith McIver was never afraid to speak her mind. According to friends, she was also extremely generous and would regularly donate funds to various Republican candidates’ campaigns in Atlanta. She also funded the construction and erection of a Blue Lives Matter billboard that was prominently displayed in a popular part of town.
Diane Was Known for Having a Heart of Gold
Many of Smith McIver’s friends and coworkers remember her fondly, stating that she was one of the most generous and fun-loving people they’d ever met. She loved traveling the world, seeing new things, and she would regularly take her closest friends on these trips with her, usually paying for their trips herself.
Although Diane McIver never had any children of her own, she absolutely adored her godchild, Austin Schwall, and would do anything and everything for him. Reportedly, the business woman told many of her close friends that she was planning on leaving everything she owned to Austin, but there was no recently updated will prior to her death to corroborate this.
The only potential piece of evidence the prosecutors in her murder case had to go on in that regard was hearsay and the testimony of some of Smith McIver’s closest friends, including Austin’s mother, Anne Schwall.
On the 10th day of the trial in Diane’s murder case, Anne testified that “[Austin] adored [Diane]. She poured so much love into him and he did the same.” Austin was only 10 years old when his beloved godmother was killed.
By most accounts, she was a renowned pillar of the community and Diane McIver’s death was a tragic loss.
Diane Was Estranged from Her Family
Diane McIver’s cousin, Sandy Shane, claimed that Diane was estranged from most of her family. She had a very turbulent relationship with her mother—to the extent that McIver didn’t speak to her mother at all during the last 15 years of her mother’s life.
When her mother passed away, McIver refused to attend the funeral, telling a neighbor that she “would not shed one single tear.” The cause of this major rift is unknown, but evidently, it was something serious. It’s not a stretch to assume that the clashing of two strong-willed personalities is to blame rather than a massive falling out over a single isolated event or argument.
Either way, McIver was always determined to forge her own path in the world and become a successful career woman…and that’s exactly what she did.
Diane McIver’s Family Life
Diane Smith met Claud “Tex” McIver in 2000. At that time, Smith was a 47-year-old divorcée with no children who was also serving as the executive vice president of Corey Companies, a prominent real estate and advertising company in Atlanta.
The couple met after Smith moved into her luxurious Buckhead condominium. Tex McIver was already a resident in the building and, according to those who knew him, he was mostly focused on his business endeavors rather than getting entangled in another romantic relationship.
After his divorce, he became estranged from his two grown kids and didn’t really have anyone close to him—that is, until he met Diane. Despite being 10 years her senior, the pair started a romantic relationship and it became evident to their friends and loved ones that they were the loves of each other’s lives.
Diane and Tex were married in November 2005.
Diane McIver’s obituary describes the picturesque life of a woman who was adored by pretty much everyone she met. As a testament to that fact, she had 10 godchildren and was always ready and willing to provide emotional, financial, and personal support for her loved ones.
The Bizarre Events That Led to Diane’s Unexpected Death
Diane McIver was shot on September 25, 2016. That night, the couple was on their way back to their shared condo in Buckhead. Diane’s friend, Dani Jo Carter, was with them; she was driving Tex’s SUV.
On their way home, the three of them had stopped at a LongHorn Steakhouse for dinner where Tex and Diane had a few drinks. Carter was the only one who didn’t indulge in an alcoholic beverage, so she became the designated driver. Diane sat in the front passenger seat, while Tex snoozed on and off in the back.
While driving on the I-20, they hit a tremendous amount of gridlock traffic, so the two women decided to get off the highway, taking an exit at Edgewood Avenue, to avoid more traffic. Tex stated that he was uncomfortable with this idea because the area they would have to drive through was a rough neighborhood.
Tex always kept a loaded pistol in the middle compartment of his vehicle and, through a family spokesperson, claimed that he got frightened by people he thought were Black Lives Matter protesters, as well as homeless people and unsavory-looking individuals around the area.
He asked his wife, who was sitting in the passenger seat, to hand over his pistol and she obliged. He kept the pistol hidden in a grocery bag so no one would know what it was. Tex was sitting in the backseat directly behind Diane.
This is where the details of the case get a little murky. Tex claims that he dozed off sometime after Diane handed him the gun and he was apparently holding it with his finger on the trigger. With the gun in his lap, pointed toward Diane and his finger on the trigger, Tex says he was jolted awake by something as the trio neared the popular Piedmont Park. Allegedly, he has no memory of what happened at the exact moment the gun was fired. All he knows is that the gun was in his hand.
According to Carter’s testimony, the car was stopped (likely at a light) when she suddenly heard a loud boom. She didn’t know what it was at first. Then Diane said, “Tex, you shot me.”
Tex maintains that it was an accident. And that’s exactly what was being argued in court.
The argument wasn’t whether or not Tex shot his wife—that part was clear. What the prosecution and Tex’s defense team were tasked with proving was whether Tex intentionally shot the gun and if he had a motive to kill or injure Diane.
Ultimately, Dani Jo Carter and Tex McIver decided to drive Diane to the hospital themselves rather than waiting for paramedics to arrive on the scene, because they thought that would take too long.
At the hospital, Diane was immediately admitted and went into emergency surgery. Unfortunately, she died within a few hours on the operating table, right after she’d explicitly told the doctors that her husband shot her by accident.
An Extremely Convoluted High-Profile Case
Prosecutors argued throughout the ensuing trial that it’s highly unlikely a pistol like the one Tex had in his lap during the time of the shooting would have gone off accidentally on its own without any force. Multiple gun experts were brought in by both the district attorney’s office and the defense team to try to explain to the jury the probability of that gun being fired accidentally at such a precise range to kill someone.
A few suspicious points of contention in the case against Tex came up during the trial. In addition to the unlikelihood of the gun being fired accidentally, prosecutors also argued that, as a seasoned gun owner in a southern city like Atlanta, Tex should have known better than to hold that gun the way he did with the finger on the trigger. A pistol is meant to be fired with intention and the hammer would only be cocked if the shooter was intending to shoot a target and they already had that target in sight.
Basically, they argued, there’s a great deal of forethought involved. The defense team countered this argument by stating that the killing couldn’t have been premeditated, because Tex had no way of anticipating that they would be taking a detour on the way home that night.
Another point of contention in this case was what transpired immediately after the three of them showed up at the hospital.
Carter testified during the trial that Tex had asked her to lie to authorities and tell them that she wasn’t in the vehicle when the shooting took place. However, that story didn’t make any sense because Diane was in the front passenger seat and Tex was sitting in the backseat behind her, which means a third person would have to be driving the car. Also, the hospital had video surveillance of the three of them arriving there at the same time and Carter was clearly seen driving the vehicle. Several witnesses were also present on the scene.
Investigators say there were at least four hospitals within close proximity to where they were that night, but Tex insisted on taking Diane to Emory University Hospital, which was the furthest distance away at 4.3 miles. There were three other hospitals that were significantly closer, including Piedmont Hospital and Grady Memorial Hospital. Dani Jo Carter told police, “All I could think of was Piedmont Hospital and I thought I don’t know—I don’t know how to get there and [Tex] says no, Emory’s closer.”
Reporter Bill Rankin, who’s been covering this case since the very beginning, was astounded that Carter and Tex didn’t think to take Diane to Grady Memorial Hospital instead. Not only was it closer to the scene of the crime—only 3.2 miles away—but it also has the top trauma care unit in the entire state of Georgia. Rankin said, “Anybody who lives in Atlanta knows about Grady Hospital and it’s a level one trauma center. There are people who have said that he took her to Emory Hospital because it was going to take longer and maybe let her bleed out.”
A few short weeks after Diane’s death, Tex, who was also her estate executor, held several auctions and estate sales to sell off her extensive belongings. More than 2,000 expensive luxury items, including a collection of hats, jewelry, and 121 fur coats, were put up for sale. A lot of people thought it was strange for a supposedly grieving man who had just lost his wife to start selling her things so quickly after her death.
However, Tex claimed that Diane had left a lot of money to her friends and coworkers and the he needed the funds from the estate sales to pay the inheritances. But even his lawyer, Bruce Harvey, agreed that he could have held off on making those payments until a more appropriate time and that his client had made a mistake in his judgment.
Was It Money-Motivated Murder or Was It Really an Accident?
Diane McIver had loaned her husband Tex McIver money on several occasions. She even convinced him to build a large pool house on his Putnam property where the couple was known for throwing extravagant birthday celebrations and holding large political gatherings for their friends and loved ones. Tex eventually agreed to build the pool house, which Diane nicknamed “The Saloon,” as long as she agreed to pay for it, which she did.
After Diane’s death, it was revealed that the McIvers had worked out a deal so that Diane would put up $350,000 for The Saloon. For official tax purposes, the payment was set up as a loan through one of her businesses, Clay Management Co., and Tex was supposed to pay it back with interest by December 2014. When he was unable to do so, the repayment period was extended to 2017.
Friends of the couple claimed that the money was never actually meant to be paid back, but it was set up this way on paper so that the couple could reap the tax benefits from the property. Investigators found this argument far too suspicious to hold any water in court and they used the loan repayment as a possible motive for murder in their case against Tex.
As the prime and only suspect in the case, McIver was arrested a few days before Christmas 2016. He faced several charges, including a misdemeanor, reckless conduct, and involuntary manslaughter. He was eventually released on bond, but violated the terms of his bond when police found a firearm in the condo he once shared with his deceased wife.
Tex McIver claimed that the gun belonged to Diane and he was unaware that it was in the apartment. But this didn’t hold up, considering it was located in his sock drawer.
Despite being a high-profile lawyer in Atlanta, it seemed as if McIver was determined to sabotage his own case to the extent where changing legal counsel wasn’t enough to redeem his public image. Prosecutors continued to argue that money, or the lack thereof, was his main motive behind killing Diane and that it wasn’t an accident.
Around the time of Diane’s death, Tex’s salary at his law firm was being reduced to half the amount he previously made. In spite of this, he was living well beyond his means.
As proof of this, the prosecution obtained copies of emails between Tex and Diane in which he told his wife that he was trying to limit his expenditures.
When they got married, Tex and Diane agreed to keep their finances separate, because they had both previously endured lengthy, emotionally difficult, and expensive divorces in the past. Neither one of them wanted to be in such a vulnerable position again.
Diane McIver’s net worth was reportedly around $500,000 at the time of her death and she had a life insurance policy of around $1.6 million.
Diane McIver’s Ashes Left in Limbo
Prosecutors were also astonished by Tex’s seeming lack of concern for his wife’s remains. Diane McIver’s body was cremated, with Tex reportedly requesting a “classic but Western”-style urn for her ashes. Wendy Eidson, the licensed embalmer and funeral director who handled Diane’s remains, testified that while two of Diane’s friends visited the funeral home to view her body before the cremation, Tex never made an appearance.
At a later meeting with Tex, Eidson said, the attorney seemed shocked by his inability to collect his wife’s Social Security benefits, and asked if he could pay for her services at a later time. He claimed that he needed to wait until probate matters were settled and an estate account was opened in Diane McIver’s name.
Weeks later, Tex still had not paid or picked up his wife’s ashes. On October 22, 2016, a friend anonymously paid the roughly $1,600 owed.
When Tex finally sent over a check for the amount, Eidson informed him that the bill had been paid. But Tex did not collect his wife’s remains until November 8. Diane’s ashes had been left at the funeral home for 42 days.
“This was a guy who supposedly had vast holdings,” Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said. “He wouldn’t even go over and pay for her ashes.” Howard said when investigators searched the McIver’s condo some six months later, they found Diane’s ashes in a bedroom closet…in a sock drawer.
The Verdict Is in
On April 23, 2018, after approximately 30 hours of deliberation, a jury found Tex McIver guilty of several charges. These included felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of a firearm in commission of a felony.
He was also initially charged with malice murder, but was found not guilty. The difference between felony and malice murder is that the former entails the intent to cause bodily harm only but the victim ends up dying; the latter entails the intent to kill the victim. Both charges carry a mandatory life sentence in the United States.
Given the evidence presented, the jury believed that Tex shot his wife on purpose with the intent to cause bodily harm, but not necessarily to kill her. The lingering question is why would he do this? If he really wanted to cash in on her life insurance policy as the prosecution insinuated, wouldn’t malice murder be more feasible?
At his sentencing hearing in 2018, Tex was given the opportunity to read aloud a letter he wrote to his deceased wife in which he expressed his deep love and admiration for her. Throughout the entire statement, though, there was one glaring omission that the judge couldn’t overlook. Chief Judge Robert McBurney told Tex, “I didn’t even hear you say you’re sorry for what you did. To me, that silence speaks volumes.”
Friends and supporters of Tex McIver maintain his innocence, but for some the hard-hitting evidence is hard to ignore in this case. What do you think? Do you believe the story that Tex accidentally shot his wife, or do you think Tex is guilty as charged? Let us know in the comments.