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Key witness gives account of night Ga. lawyer fatally shot his wife

ATLANTA, Ga. - Jurors heard more than five hours of testimony Monday from the woman who was driving the car when a prominent Atlanta attorney fatally shot his wife, CBS affiliate WGCL reports. Claud "Tex" McIver, 75, faces charges including murder in the September 2016 death of his wife, 64-year-old Diane McIver.   

Tex McIver is accused of intentionally shooting Diane McIver, a business executive, and making it look like an accident. Tex McIver claims he didn't fire the gun on purpose.

Monday, four car seats were set up in front of the witness stand in order to recreate the shooting as Dani Jo Carter, Diane's best friend who was behind the wheel the night she was shot, recounted her version of events. Carter, who told jurors that she loved Diane "like a sister," described what happened on the night of the shooting, and in the hours, days, and weeks following her death. 

Diane McIver CBS affiliate WGCL

Carter testified the car was at a stop when the gun went off, countering Tex McIver's earlier statements that the car had hit a bump that caused him to accidentally fire, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  She said Diane, who was in the front passenger seat, turned around to look at her husband, who was riding in the back, and asked, "Tex, what did you do?"

Carter said Tex McIver replied, "The gun discharged." She said Diane sat up straight and then said, "Tex, you shot me."

Carter testified about driving the 15-20 minutes to Emory University Hospital as Diane was bleeding, losing consciousness and "making horrible noises." She said Tex McIver was holding his wife's head.

When they arrived at the hospital, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Carter testified Tex McIver called his lawyer and asked Carter to change her version of events.

"I don't trust these guys. Dani Jo, I hate to see you get wrapped up in this," Carter testified Tex McIver said. "I've seen how these things can go down ...You just need to say you came down here as a friend of the family."

Tex McIver WGCL

Carter reportedly said she replied, " 'Tex, I just drove you into the emergency room.'"  

"He looked at me and said, 'Well, they don't know that,'" Carter said, reports the AJC. "That took my breath away. I said, 'I can't lie.'"

According to her testimony, McIver told Carter that he had canceled an appointment his wife had to update her will. 

Prosecutor Seleta Griffin told jurors in her opening statement that the McIvers appeared to live a storybook life but, she said, there were problems beneath the surface and Tex McIver intentionally killed his wife. Defense attorney Amanda Clark Palmer countered that the seemingly perfect relationship was genuine and the shooting was a tragic accident.  

Last week, the prosecution argued that Tex McIver killed his wife for financial motives, describing how he had auctioned off her furs and clothing not long after she was killed. Diane McIver had around $500,000 in the bank when she died, and life insurance policies totaling $1.6 million.