‘Breakdown’ S05 Ep. 11: The verdict on Tex McIver

New episode explores opening arguments, confusing outcome

The public is likely to see Tex McIver just one more time — at his sentencing hearing on May 23. After that, the 75-year-old man will disappear into the state prison system to live out his days.

The final episode of this season of “Breakdown,” now available (podcast player below), takes you through the climax of the seven-week McIver murder trial.

» Tex is guilty. What happens to Diane’s money?

Episode 11 explores the confused verdict and concludes that the jury did not fully understand the law it was trying to apply. In sum, the jurors were confronted with two crimes of intent: malice murder, which charges that the defendant meant to kill, and aggravated assault, which charges that the defendant meant to do harm. In acquitting McIver of malice murder but finding him guilty of aggravated assault, the jury in effect concluded that McIver meant to shoot his wife, Diane, but not to kill her.

The podcast episode also discusses the consequences of the defense strategy of clearing McIver of the most serious charges against him — malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

» McIver said it was an accident. Jurors didn’t buy it.

“From the beginning, I thought this was an involuntary case based on reckless conduct,” said Atlanta defense attorney Noah Pines, who was not involved in the trial. “While I thought the defense did a masterful job in closing argument, one of the things that concerned me was that they asked the jury not to consider the lesser-included offense of involuntary manslaughter. So this is really an all-or-nothing. It’s either murder and he’s guilty, or an accident and he’s not guilty.”

Pines added: “There’s always a danger when you ask a jury for an all or nothing.”

Most of Episode 11 of “Breakdown,” however, is devoted to the closing arguments — there were four — presented in the case. Lead prosecutor Clint Rucker spoke for 95 minutes, using his extraordinary voice and often soaring oratory to weave a convincing tapestry of greed, betrayal and murder. But many of the threads in Rucker’s tapestry were thin. He sometimes spoke of things that either never occurred or, at best, were not proved in court. The podcast offers several examples of this. Here’s one:

» Listen to all six seasons of ‘Breakdown’

Rucker makes much of McIver’s attempt to get a friend to take Dani Jo Carter home on the Friday before the killing. Rucker theorizes this was because McIver didn’t want Carter to be present that weekend to witness what he planned to do.

“If he took Dani Jo home he’d be alone on the ranch with Diane McIver,” Rucker said. “They talked about, why didn’t he kill her at the ranch? Why didn’t he kill her on I-20? Maybe that was the original plan. She’d have an accident on the ranch. He says, ‘You know what? Maybe I’ll have to go to a Plan B.’”

This is a compelling story, but little of it was supported by evidence or testimony. Rucker surmised that McIver meant to kill his wife at the ranch. And he surmised that McIver came up with an alternate plan because Dani Jo Carter was there. Of course, Dani Jo Carter was present when McIver shot his wife — in the couple’s SUV on Piedmont Avenue late on that Sunday night.

“Breakdown” is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform. Or you can stream it from ajc.com, right here, right now:


Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Group studying transit options to get around Hartsfield area easier
Group studying transit options to get around Hartsfield area easier

Mobility in the area around Hartsfield-Jackson International must be improved before the southside of Atlanta can live up to its potential, leaders hoping to boost economic development say. While MARTA makes it easy to get to Hartsfield-Jackson International, getting around the surrounding areas can be a challenge, said Grady Smith, a project manager...
Cobb County restaurant inspection scores

Cobb County • Food Big Apple, 2727 Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. 80/B • McDonald’s, 5145 Cowan Road, Acworth. 85/B • Paleteria La Delicia, 1869 Cobb Parkway, Marietta. 91/A • Tapestry at the Old Mill, 4271 Southside Drive, Acworth. 100/A
Gridlock Guy: Our city’s parking problems are a reflection of our traffic woes
Gridlock Guy: Our city’s parking problems are a reflection of our traffic woes

Atlanta gets more flack than Roberta about how slow its traffic moves. While rush hour, lack of mass transit, and often just plain sloppy organization with big events are killing drivers softly with a very slow song, another vehicular problem needs consideration. Businesses, organizations, and cities need to do better with how they handle parking....
Cherokee County restaurant inspection scores

Cherokee County • Arby’s, 1461 Riverstone Parkway, Canton. 87/B • Bojangles, 1665 Ball Ground Highway, Canton. 91/A • Five Guys, 1359 Riverstone Parkway, Canton. 99/A • Hong Kong City, 12050 Highway 92, Woodstock. 78/C • Pizza Hut, 12050 Highway 92, Woodstock. 95/A
Fulton County restaurant inspection scores

Fulton County • Church’s Chicken, 860 Bankhead Highway, Atlanta. 92/A • Goldberg’s Bagels and Deli, 1272 W. Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. 94/A • Hikari at Johns Creek, 10820 Abbott’s Bridge Road, Johns Creek. 91/A • Johnny’s N.Y. Style Pizza, 5495 Cascade Road, Atlanta. 86/B • Stop Bop Go, 4000 Old Milton...
More Stories