Prominent Atlanta attorney Tex McIver, who fatally shot his wife last month, was indicted nearly 30 years ago on gun and assault charges that were dropped

By Chris Harris
October 21, 2016 04:50 PM

The prominent Atlanta attorney who fatally shot his wife last month — in what he claims was a terrible accident — was indicted nearly 30 years ago on gun and assault charges, though the charges were later dropped, PEOPLE confirms.

A 1990 case file released this week to the media details an alleged encounter between Claud “Tex” McIver, 63, and three teenagers which eventually led to criminal charges. The three teenagers told detectives McIver had allegedly fired several shots into their car.

The case was later dropped following a settlement, according to court records. The terms were never publicly disclosed.

However, that incident has “absolutely” nothing to do with the September shooting of McIver’s wife, McIver’s attorney tells PEOPLE.

On Sept. 25, McIver was riding in his car’s back seat in Atlanta when he claims his .38 snub-nose revolver accidentally went off, fatally wounding his wife, Diane, who was seated in the front passenger seat.

The vehicle was being driven by Diane’s best friend at the time, according to McIver’s lawyer, Steve Maples, who tells PEOPLE the gun fired after the car hit a speed bump.

McIver told police he had been holding his gun in his lap after several individuals approached the vehicle, and it fired as he was dozing off. He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he “lurched” awake suddenly and fired the gun.

His wife was taken to Emory University Hospital and died in surgery several hours later. She was 63. The Fulton County Medical Examiner determined she died of a gunshot wound to the back that had passed through the seat.

The incident remains under investigation. Atlanta police have described the case as “complicated” but have declined to publicly discuss it in detail, according to the AJC.

In a strange development, police rebuked a family spokesman who initially provided accounts of the shooting to the media.

(Among other statements, according to the AJC, the family friend told reporters that the McIvers had been unsettled that night by recent stories of volatile Black Lives Matter protests and were afraid of being carjacked.)

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1990 Indictment Is ‘Simply a Distraction’: Attorney

Maples confirms that, 26 years ago, McIver allegedly released his two German shepherds on three teens who were loitering outside his DeKalb County home in the Atlanta area.

McIver also allegedly fired several shots into the air before pointing the gun at the teens’ car and pulling the trigger twice. Two rounds entered the passenger side of the vehicle.

No one was injured in the incident, but McIver was indicted on aggravated assault, possession of a firearm in connection with a crime, and criminal damage to property charges.

“That case has absolutely nothing to do with this incident — they’re not related in any manner,” Maples tells PEOPLE. “It’s simply a distraction that has absolutely noting to do with last month’s tragedy. He was charged and falsely accused.”

McIver has not been charged in connection with his wife’s shooting death, which Maples asserts was completely unintentional.

“This was an accident,” Maples tells PEOPLE, noting McIver has passed a polygraph test about the shooting indicating it was unintentional. (As proof, Maples provided PEOPLE with a report from Federal Polygraph Associates.)

“He was completely truthful in answering all of the questions,” Maples says of McIver, adding he doesn’t anticipate McIver will face any charges.

“He is traumatized by this, by losing his best friend and the person he loves,” Maples tells PEOPLE when asked how McIver is managing after last month’s shooting. “They were the couple that still held hands. He still opened doors for her and would pull her chair out … they had the kind of marriage everyone should have.”

Diane was president of the Atlanta-based marketing company Corey Airport Services, where she worked for 43 years. Employees described her as a “passionate leader and prominent businesswoman” on the company’s Facebook page.

Tex is a partner at law firm Fisher Phillips and is on the advisory committee of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Gun Violence.