A former partner of a large American law firm has been sentenced to life for the fatal shooting of his wife.
Claud “Tex” McIver was handed down the sentence last week with the possibility of parole for killing Diane McIver in September 2016. He was found guilty by a jury in April, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said.
The possibility of parole may be moot, however, as he was sentenced under a Georgia state statute that mandates a minimum of 30 years in prison. He is currently 75 and will only be eligible for parole once he turns 105.
McIver maintained that he accidentally shot and killed his wife while riding in the back seat of an SUV driven by a family friend. Diane, who was an accomplished senior executive, sat in the front seat of the vehicle. The former partner said he was holding a gun, which he said went off when he fell asleep, because he was afraid of the neighbourhood they were passing through.
The family friend, Dani Jo Carter, said in court that McIver lied to her and tried to convince her to lie. She said seeing her friend die was one of the saddest and most horrific events in her life and has caused her horrible trauma. She described Diane as a sister.
Prosecutors said during the trial that McIver owed his wife hundreds of thousands of dollars at the time of the shooting. His law firm income was said to have dropped from an average of US$570,000 to US$275,000. At the same time, he was said to have been spending more than he was earning.
McIver had claimed that in the months he has been in jail, he has never been alone because he could “telepathically” communicate with his dead wife. He said “there just aren’t words to describe the nature of our relationship” and the “energy we derived from each other.”
“I have spent 263 nights in a jail cell by myself, but not alone. She has joined me there. It’s a presence that’s hard to describe,” he said. “It’s as if she’s on the other side of a curtain or another dimension. I’ve never felt alone.”
Robert McBurney, chief judge of the Superior Court of Fulton County, said after McIver spoke that he never heard the former partner say he was sorry for what he did.
“To me, that silence speaks volumes,” he said.
McIver was a long-time partner at Fisher Phillips, a firm that specialises in labour, employment, civil rights, and immigration. It ranked 151st in the Am Law 200 in 2017, with US$183.23m in turnover and 319 lawyers. According to The American Lawyer, the firm’s average profit per equity partner last year was US$554,000.