- Craig Schneider and Mark Davis The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
An Atlanta attorney who says he accidentally shot and killed his wife last month was charged some 25 years ago with firing a gun at a car containing three teens in DeKalb County.
A grand jury indicted Claud “Tex” McIver but prosecutors declined to pursue the 1990 case after the parties settled it privately, according to court records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. No one was injured in the incident. But afterward McIver was charged with three counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm in connection with a crime, and criminal damage to property.
McIver’s attorney said Tuesday that his client — a prominent labor attorney and influential member of the state Republican Party — had acted out of self-defense at the time.
The 1990 indictment, first reported by Channel 2 Action News on Tuesday, indicates that McIver had made an assault with a handgun. He interfered with a Ford Mustang “in a manner so as to endanger human life by firing two shots from a handgun into said automobile while it was occupied” by the three teens.
The latest revelations are a strange twist in a strange tale involving a well-connected Atlanta power couple.
The new court documents, which do not include the police report, offer no detailed account of the incident on Feb. 27, 1990 outside the McIvers’ home at the time on Cravey Trail in the northeast Atlanta. But the incident has emerged at a time when Atlanta police are investigating a more recent, high-profile shooting in which McIver has said he accidentally shot and killed his wife on Sept. 25 in their SUV. An Atlanta Police spokeswoman said they were aware of the previous charges but declined to comment on their investigation.
McIver’s attorney Stephen Maples said the two cases are “totally unrelated, completely different in fact, pattern and situation.”
He added, “One does not impact on the other.”
McIver could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Two shooting incidents
Speaking of the more recent shooting, Maples said Tex and Diane McIver were being driven home to Buckhead from their other home in Putnam County when they pulled off I-85 onto Edgewood Avenue due to traffic. Tex McIver was sitting in the rear seat and his wife in the front passenger seat when they spotted some people milling about and pulled a gun from the center console of the SUV. Maples said homeless people have been known to hang out under the overpass there.
Tex McIver fell back to sleep while a family friend continued driving, Maples said. McIver told the AJC he had the handgun wrapped in a plastic bag in his lap when he said he suddenly awoke near Piedmont Park and the gun went off.
The tragedy has garnered widespread attention, in part because McIver’s spokesman Bill Crane had initially said the couple pulled the gun because they were concerned they may have driven into a Black Lives Matter rally. Maples has since said that account was incorrect.
Maples had also provided legal representation for McIver in the 1990 incident. He said McIver had come home late from work to his home at about 9:30 p.m. to find his wife “alarmed and concerned” about some people at the end of their cul-de-sac. That was McIver’s first wife, not Diane McIver.
McIver took his handgun from his bedroom and went to check out the situation, Maples said. He saw some people in a car at the end of the cul-de-sac, and when they spotted him, they drove the car toward him, he said.
McIver had told Maples at the time that he felt the driver was trying to hit him with the car, and that the car did not take any evasive maneuvers.
“He had to jump out of the way,” Maples said.
McIver fired two shots into the pavement as warning shots as the car passed him by, and another into the trunk area out of “probably fear,” Maples said.
The indictment said McIver fired and struck the car twice.
McIver paid for the damage
Two of the three occupants of the car declined to speak on the record to the AJC. The third could not be reached for comment.
According to Maples, the teens’ parents insisted the police press charges. Investigators spoke to McIver and the teens. Maples said the teens had disagreed with McIver’s account. Following the police charges a grand jury determined there was probable cause to allow the case to come to trial.
Some nine months later, prosecutors recommended to the court that the case be “dead-docketed” because the parties had settled the matter privately. Maples said McIver paid only for the damage to the car.
The records from that 1990 shooting and arrest had been packed away years ago, said a spokesman for DeKalb District Attorney Robert James. He did not know why the case wasn’t prosecuted.
The DA’s office Tuesday morning ordered the records’ return from storage, and they should be available later this week.