‘Breakdown’ S05, Ep. 9: The Pilloried Policeman


The Tex McIver murder trial returns from spring break this week. Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney told the jury before the break that prosecutor Clint Rucker still has witnesses to call, and he has already called more than 60.

The judge didn’t sound thrilled.

“Mr. Rucker and his team have helped me understand there are not a whole lot of witnesses left,” McBurney said. “I don’t think there are that many people left in the world.

» Join the Breakdown Facebook group

The AJC’s podcast, “Breakdown: The McIver Murder Case,” will post Episode 9 early Monday. Although the judge is looking forward, Episode 9 looks back – at the rough treatment of an Atlanta homicide detective by the prosecution. And it details some fireworks between the defense and Judge McBurney.

Detective Darrin Smith, who investigated the death of Diane McIver, concluded that the shooting was an accident. The district attorney, however, decided that Tex McIver intended to kill his wife. As the final witness before the break, Smith was compelled to answer for all the questions he didn’t ask, all the steps he didn’t take in his investigation.

Normally, the district attorney and the police department are allies, working together to win a conviction. Not in this case.

Defense attorney Bruce Harvey took Detective Smith through a lengthy cross-examination in which Harvey tried his best to rehabilitate the witness. But then Harvey stopped asking questions and just started making statements.

“You know what he’s saying,“ Harvey said of prosecutor Rucker. “He’s saying you did a crummy job. That’s what he’s saying. You didn’t investigate it right. So I’m going through these things because you did investigate it right, didn’t you?”

Rucker objects. McBurney tells the witness, “So, don’t answer that question.”

Then the judge addresses Harvey: “If you want to ask a question, then let’s do that. That’s not an appropriate question. I invite you to continue your thorough and sifting cross-examination.”

» Past episodes of the Breakdown podcast

Later, in response to an exchange that was not on the tape of the proceedings, McBurney instructed Harvey, “And don’t call me your worship again.”

Episode 9, “The Pilloried Policeman,” will go live early Monday on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcast platform. Or you can stream it right here, right now:



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

BREAKING: 10-year-old girl shot in DeKalb County, police say
BREAKING: 10-year-old girl shot in DeKalb County, police say

A 10-year-old girl was shot in the arm in Scottdale Wednesday night, police confirmed to Channel 2 Action News. The child was shot on the 300 block of Hatton Drive at the Oak Forest Apartments a little after 10 p.m., DeKalb County police said.  She was transported to a local hospital and is in stable condition, Channel 2 reported. An investigation...
Atlanta charity worker fatally shot in head while driving home
Atlanta charity worker fatally shot in head while driving home

A metro Atlanta grandmother was shot and killed early Sunday morning while driving home from work, authorities said. Beverly Jenkins, 49, was driving her minivan home around 12:30 a.m. after working her shift at the City of Refuge, where she worked helping homeless mothers, Channel 2 Action News reported.  While driving near the intersection of...
GBI: Father runs from car as police find baby dead inside
GBI: Father runs from car as police find baby dead inside

A father was arrested after he fled a traffic stop, leaving authorities to find his 10-month-old daughter dead in the back seat of the car.  Cameron Ramon Reese, 22, faces aggravated assault and concealing the death of another charges after he ran from police during a traffic stop early Wednesday in Greenville, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said...
Suspect arrested, accused of killing man found in shopping cart
Suspect arrested, accused of killing man found in shopping cart

A man accused of killing a man found in a shopping cart last month was arrested Wednesday, Atlanta police and jail records confirmed.  Details on Landus McBride’s arrest were not released.  Atlanta police identified McBride, 42, of Atlanta, earlier this week in the death of Thomas Hall.  RELATED: Police ID suspect accused...
Couple arrested, accused in $65K thefts at Athens middle school  
Couple arrested, accused in $65K thefts at Athens middle school  

A man and woman accused of pilfering more than $65,000 in copper and supplies from an Athens middle school were arrested at a motel in Banks County, officials confirmed Monday.  Eric Aguilar and Sierra Yuhas, both 28, were pulling out of the Comfort Inn on Devils Pond Road in Crawford when Banks County sheriff’s deputies arrested them on...
More Stories