An Atlanta lawyer faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct in the shooting death of his wife, police said.
Claud Lee McIver, 73, turned himself in Wednesday night at the Fulton County Jail and made his first court appearance Thursday, where a judge set total bail at $200,000 — $150,000 for the involuntary manslaughter charge and $50,000 for the reckless conduct one.
Fulton County Chief Senior Assistant District Attorney Clinton Rucker had requested a much higher amount, but McIver’s attorney, Cal Leipold, argued that his client, a lawyer of 44 years and senior partner at the firm of Fisher Phillips, had owned a home in the county since 1995, along with other Georgia properties, and has three children and a 97-year-old mother who lives in the state.
Leipold argued that McIver was not a flight risk and had become a “virtual hermit” since fatally shooting his wife.
“He’s done nothing but be heartbroken since this happened,” he said.
Setting conditions for bail, the judge ordered that McIver surrender his passport, wear an electronic monitoring device and carry no weapons.
Nearly three months ago, his wife, Diane McIver, was sitting inside their Ford Expedition SUV when she was shot, according to a police incident report. The September 25 report contained no further details on how the shooting happened, except that it was under investigation and had taken place near Piedmont Park in Atlanta.
McIver, also known as “Tex,” is a prominent Atlanta lawyer. He specializes in employment law and has defended employers in more than 200 union organizing campaigns, according to his biography.
The shooting was an accident, McIver told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in October.
Another attorney representing McIver, Stephen Maples, told the newspaper the couple had pulled off the highway to avoid traffic while heading to their Atlanta home from one of their other properties.
They told the Atlanta paper that McIver had been sleeping in the back seat and saw people milling around the street. He asked his wife in the front seat to get his gun from the center console of their SUV and fell back asleep with the gun on his lap.
“I was suddenly awoken,” he told the Journal-Constitution. “I lurched and the gun fired.”
His wife died hours later at Emory University Hospital from the gunshot wound.
The couple had been married 16 years. Her obituary described their time together as “happy years” spent on golf courses and their cattle ranch. Diane McIver, 63, worked in business for 43 years.