Fulton County prosecutors and Atlanta attorney Claud “Tex” McIver’s legal team on Monday selected the jury that will hear the murder case against McIver over the 2016 shooting death of his wife.
Attorneys selected a 12-member jury panel and four alternates. The 12 panelists are evenly split between women and men, with nine whites and three African-Americans.
Opening statements in the case will be Tuesday.
Attorneys selected the jury after more than a week questioning dozens of prospective jurors. A number of prospects were dismissed last week after they said they had prejudged the case and would not be able to set aside their bias that McIver had intentionally killed his wife, Diane, when he fired his gun from the back seat of their SUV as the couple was being driven through downtown Atlanta by a longtime friend.
McIver, 75, who retired from Atlanta’s Fisher & Phillips, claims the shooting was an accident, but three months later, he was charged with felony manslaughter. That charge later was elevated to malice murder.
Prospective jurors who were eliminated included some who said they were gun owners and were dubious of McIver’s claim that his .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver had fired accidentally.
Questions posed to the jury provided some tantalizing hints that may be explored at the trial. They included screening jurors for bias against alcohol use because the couple may have been drinking more heavily than McIver’s spokesmen had previously indicated. McIver’s combat service in Vietnam and his wealth as compared to that of his wife—who was president of Atlanta billboard company Corey Airport Services—may also play a role at trial.
Prospects also were asked about whether they had ever supported Black Lives Matter, attended protests, contributed money or posted supportive yard signs. Shortly after Diane McIver was shot, her husband’s spokesman told reporters with several media organizations, including the Daily Report, that McIver had asked his wife to hand him his gun because he feared Black Lives Matter protesters, who had shut down Peachtree Road near their home for five hours the previous day. McIver’s attorney later said the spokesman’s references to Black Lives Matter as a reason McIver was holding a gun were incorrect.
The reference to Black Lives Matter was only one of multiple changes the lawyer and his representatives made to McIver’s evolving explanation of the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death.