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After admitting he shot his wife in the back, a prominent Atlanta lawyer has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Claud "Tex" McIver said he was sleeping in the back seat of a car, when he abruptly woke up and shot his wife through the back of the front seat. He said he had the gun in his lap to protect them as a driver took them through a tough part of town, and he fired reflexively when he woke up.
Steve Maples, an attorney for McIver, said the felony charge and a misdemeanor charge for reckless conduct suggest it was an accident.
"Tex said this was the second worst day of his life," Maples told the Journal-Constitution.
McIver, who surrendered for booking on Wednesday, turned 74 today. The court set bail at $200,000 and ordered the attorney to wear an ankle monitor while released.
Diane Smith, 64, died at a hospital after the shooting on Sept. 25. She was a successful businesswoman, and he was a well-known attorney. Family and friends said they were "inseparable."
However, it was not the first marriage for McIver and not the first time he had been accused of shooting at someone. In 1990, he was indicted on allegations that he fired at teenagers in a car. The aggravated assault charges were dropped after the parties settled privately.
The shooting death has drawn massive media attention, resulting in conflicting stories. In one report, a family spokesperson said McIver shot his wife when the car went over a bump. In a subsequent interview, McIver's lawyer said that report was incorrect. In the most recent story, the driver said the car was stopped when the gun went off.
Avoiding the media for months after the shooting, McIver spoke exclusively to the Journal-Constitution on Nov. 28, 2016. He declined to talk about the incident, on advice of his attorney, but he spent two hours describing his life before and after the tragedy.
McIver said he met Smith at the gym in his condominium, got engaged on horseback and married at their ranch in November 2005. They enjoyed an active lifestyle, and played golf together on the day of the shooting.
He rejected speculation that he killed his wife for money or that he had been unfaithful. He said the false reports hurt, but the most painful moment was when the surgeons and a chaplain approached him at the hospital.
"Then came the darkest moment of my life," McIver said.
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