Lauren A. White is a "48 Hours" associate producer. She watched every day of the Tex McIver murder trial for the episode, "The Last Ride Home."
Tex McIver called his wife, Diane, the love of his life. But after shooting her to death, he seemed most concerned about her money and his future. Are these the actions of a grieving husband or a cold-blooded killer?
In the case of Tex McIver, there is a lot we do not know. The biggest question is whether he intentionally shot his wife, Diane, in the back while their friend drove them home. Tex says it was a horrible accident. The Fulton County District Attorney's Office says it was murder. Just last week, a jury rendered its verdict:
We may never know what was actually going through Tex's mind when he pulled the trigger. What we do know is that after Diane's death, Tex did not behave in a manner that one would expect of a husband in mourning. Of course, there is no "proper" way to grieve. After losing a loved one, some cry uncontrollably, while others seem to suffer in silence. Optics, however, are everything. And when it comes to Tex McIver, the way he grieved may have landed him behind bars for the rest of his life.
The murder trial of Claud "Tex" McIver lasted 25 days. During that time, the prosecution called 70 witnesses to the stand. Many of the state's witnesses encountered Tex in the minutes, hours, and days after Diane's death. Of those witnesses, only one testified to seeing Tex show any signs of sorrow.
Witness after witness took to the stand and described interactions that seemed surprising for a man whose wife had just died - especially a man who professed to love her and claimed that the shooting was accidental. Many times, the actions before the homicide are used to prove a defendant's guilt. In this case, it's Tex's conduct after Diane's death that was used against him.
was driving the couple home when the gun went off. After leaving the hospital, Carter took Tex home to his and Diane's Buckhead condo. She sat with him as he called Diane's friends and colleagues to inform them of her death. Carter testified that she never saw Tex "breakdown."
"He appeared calm," she said on the stand.
Carter noted that he did not appear to be in shock.
Less than 48-hours after Diane died, two of her colleagues went to see Tex at the condo and offer their condolences. Both testified to having one-on-one conversations with Tex in which he asked them about his wife's Social Security benefits. As one colleague, Jay Grover, testified, Tex said, "I wonder if I can collect her checks now."
Later that night, Grover overheard Tex tell someone about a job in Oklahoma that he was interested in.
The other colleague, Ken Rickert, testified that after asking him about getting Diane's Social Security benefits, Tex began complaining about his salary being cut at the law firm where he worked and the cost of maintaining his ranch. As Rickert put it, "I expected at that point in time, he would tell me how sorry he was and how it was a terrible, tragic accident, and say how much he loved Diane. But I never heard that."
Neither did anyone else, it seems.
Instead, the jury heard how Tex asked Janie Calhoun, his former girlfriend and neighbor, to catalogue Diane's closet the day after she died. That same week, he talked about making structural changes to the condo and possibly putting it on the market. Two days before Diane's memorial service, Tex wondered aloud to Diane's assistant if he could get Calhoun, a married woman, back. The jury also heard about how Tex sold Diane's expensive clothes, shoes, hats, purses, and furs in an estate sale a little more than two months after her death and then a month after that, auctioned off her jewelry to the highest bidder.
And yet, the jury also heard how much Diane and Tex were in love, that he always called her "Darling," and that they never spoke a cross word to one another in public. The one prosecution witness who saw Tex grieve "properly" was Rachel Styles. Styles was a friend of the McIvers and coordinated their 2005 wedding. She arrived at the condo a few hours after Diane's death.
"I first went to Tex and he gave me a hug and was just crying uncontrollably and he could not talk," Styles recounted on the stand.
She was so worried about Tex that she slept on the sofa in the condo for two nights.
Another person who slept over at the condo was Diane and Tex's masseuse, Annie Anderson. The prosecution mentioned Anderson several times throughout their case, but never called on her to testify. Through the testimony of Styles and Carter, the jury heard that Anderson slept in Tex's bedroom, gave him massages, and stayed with Tex in the condo and ranch for several days after Diane's death.
It wasn't until the defense took the stage that Anderson was able to speak for herself. She dispelled any notion of an inappropriate relationship with Tex and stated that she slept on the floor of his bedroom and that Tex had nightmares. Anderson testified that she did not massage Tex and she stayed with him for a week -- along with overnight visits from her family and Tex's godson -- to monitor him after Diane's death.
"We knew we needed to watch out for Tex because he had an anxiety attack at the hospital," Anderson testified.
To hammer home the point, the defense asked Anderson in several different ways if she had ever had a sexual relationship with Tex McIver, to which she responded: "Never." Why was that necessary? Because as defense attorney Don Samuels put it: "What was going on was a clear effort by the prosecution to claim and to try to convince this jury that they were having sex and that's why he killed his wife."
"Never said they had sex," said Chief Assistant District Attorney Clint Rucker during closing arguments. "It just doesn't look right for a man who is supposed to be grievin' over the accidental death of his wife. Really looks like he was glad she was gone."
Perhaps none of it looks right. But does it look like murder?
A jury of his peers must have thought so. Tex McIver's felony murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence.
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