The jury deliberating the fate of Atlanta attorney Claud “Tex” McIver in his ongoing murder trial called it a day—and a week—shortly past 4 p.m. Friday without reaching a verdict.
The note sent to Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Robert McBurney said only that “The jury is done for the day.”
McBurney told court watchers, prosecutors and McIver’s defense team, “Our jurors have been deliberating conscientiously today.” They ordered in and had a working lunch while they continued deliberating, he said. “I have not yet been passed a note or handed a question about what do they do if they’re deadlocked.”
Nor has the jury expressed any frustrations with the deliberations, he added.
After 20 days of testimony and five hours of closing arguments, the jury began deliberating at about 4 p.m. Tuesday.
On Thursday, jurors were allowed to revisit the Ford Expedition where McIver shot his wife, Diane. They were also allowed to sit in the rear seat that Tex McIver occupied and to hold his Smith & Wesson .38-caliber revolver.
Jurors also rewatched a 30-minute, redacted recording of McIver’s interview with homicide detectives and reviewed copies of somewhat contentious email exchanges between McIver and his wife involving financial matters.
On Friday morning, shortly after they arrived, jurors notified the court and the bailiff that they intended to leave at 4 p.m.
Shortly after 3 p.m, the jury blue light flashed—a signal they wanted or had something. But the minutes ticked by with no new information as the courtroom grew restless with anticipation.
By 3:45 p.m., McBurney interrupted a hearing on an unrelated matter to announce the jury had revised their earlier timeline. “They feel like they are making progress,” he said, “and want to push past 4 p.m. today.”
That announcement drew more people into what had been a sparsely populated courtroom hopeful for a verdict.
It was not to be. At 4:10 p.m., McBurney again interrupted his hearing to announce the jury decided to go home after all.
In cautioning jurors not to watch, read or listen to media accounts, he said he was tipping them in advance to the coverage: “Jurors are deliberating.”
The jury will resume deliberating at 9 a.m. Monday.