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5 things to know about Diane McIver

After hearing from 78 witnesses who testified over 20 days, the jury in the murder trial of Tex McIver is deliberating. Jurors must decide whether the fatal shooting of Diane McIver, Tex’s wife, was an intentional act or a terrible accident. 

McIver is accused of fatally shooting his wife, Diane, on Sept. 25, 2016. The couple was coming home from a weekend at their ranch in Putnam County; Diane McIver’s best friend, Dani Jo Carter, was driving their Ford Expedition near Piedmont Park when Tex fired a bullet into his wife’s back. McIver said he was asleep in the back seat and shot the gun inadvertently. 

Stay with Channel 2 Action News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for live coverage of the verdict in the Tex McIver murder trial. We will stream it live on WSBTV.com and the WSB-TV Facebook page once a decision is reached.

Visit our Tex McIver murder trial special section for a look back at the case, including a live blog from the courtroom, daily video recaps, an interactive timeline and much more. 

Here are five things to know about Diane McIver:

She was tough as nails 

Those who knew and worked with Diane McIver, 64, said she was a force to be reckoned with: a workaholic with a sharp tongue, a formidable presence in any room. She often woke up at 5 a.m. to start her day with a workout and even kept a set of weights in her office. 

Kenneth Rickert, an attorney responsible for legal matters at Diane McIver's company, U.S. Enterprises, testified that "Diane was difficult, she was a tough taskmaster."

Her cousin, Sandy Shane, said, "She was going to make her own path in this world. She wasn't going to have to rely on anybody. She was going to be a self-made woman.” 

At the same time, though, she was also known for her generosity. Friends said she never forgot a birthday and often took them with her on lavish trips, for which she footed the entire bill.

She had an unhappy childhood, but not as unhappy as some think

The legend that has spouted up around Diane McIver is one of rags-to-riches. Many of those who knew her said she grew up poverty-stricken, living in a trailer park, and struck out on her own to achieve wealth and prosperity as a corporate president. That isn't entirely true. Diane's cousin, Sandy Shane, said Diane grew up in relative comfort — certainly not in a trailer park. However, her rapid ascension into the business world was just that —  an ascension. Under the mentorship of Billy Corey, she went from answering phones to running the company. However, even though Diane didn’t grow up in a slum, Shane said her cousin’s childhood “wasn’t the happiest.”

She had a rocky relationship with her mother; Shane said the two "fought like cats and dogs," and Diane made plans to leave home as soon as she turned 18. Diane was estranged from her mother for the last 15 years of her mother's life and even refused to attend the funeral. Linda Winkler, her neighbor, said when she offered her friend condolences for the loss of her mother, Diane said, "I will not shed one single tear." 

She was very politically active 

Diane McIver and her husband, Tex, donated large sums to political campaigns for mostly Republican candidates — collectively totaling more than $100,000. They also hosted fundraising events at their Putnam County ranch for Republican gubernatorial candidates and had a "Blue Lives Matter" billboard erected in Eatonton.

She was fiercely devoted to her godson

Eleven-year-old Austin Schwall, the son of Fulton County Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall, was the light of Diane McIver’s life. His parents were close friends with the McIvers, and Diane, whom Austin affectionately called “Mommy Di,” payed for his nursery and tutoring. The boy also had a bedroom at the couple’s Putnam County ranch, which he visited often.  

“He adored her. She poured so much love into him and he did the same,” Austin’s mother, Anne Schwall, testified.

Billy Corey, Diane’s longtime mentor, summed it up this way on the stand: "If Tex and I were in intensive care and Austin needed toothpaste, she wouldn’t think a thing about leaving us there." 

Contention around whether Diane McIver changed her will so that Austin would inherit the ranch after her death has become a key point in the trial.

She loved clothes

Diane McIver had expensive taste. When her husband auctioned off her wardrobe at a highly scrutinized estate sale shortly after her death, more than 2,000 items — clothing, jewelry, shoes, handbags and furs — were part of the sale, many of which had designer labels and price tags in the thousands of dollars. Her enormous collection included 121 fur coats and more than 500 pieces of French and Italian costume jewelry

The estate sale spanned more than 1,200 square feet. Her neighbor, Linda Winkler, said Diane changed gowns multiple times over the course of her wedding weekend. Her engagement ring was worth $60,000.

This article was written by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

5 things to know about Diane McIver

After hearing from 78 witnesses who testified over 20 days, the jury in the murder trial of Tex McIver is deliberating. Jurors must decide whether the fatal shooting of Diane McIver, Tex’s wife, was an intentional act or a terrible accident. 

McIver is accused of fatally shooting his wife, Diane, on Sept. 25, 2016. The couple was coming home from a weekend at their ranch in Putnam County; Diane McIver’s best friend, Dani Jo Carter, was driving their Ford Expedition near Piedmont Park when Tex fired a bullet into his wife’s back. McIver said he was asleep in the back seat and shot the gun inadvertently. 

Stay with Channel 2 Action News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for live coverage of the verdict in the Tex McIver murder trial. We will stream it live on WSBTV.com and the WSB-TV Facebook page once a decision is reached.

Visit our Tex McIver murder trial special section for a look back at the case, including a live blog from the courtroom, daily video recaps, an interactive timeline and much more. 

Here are five things to know about Diane McIver:

She was tough as nails 

Those who knew and worked with Diane McIver, 64, said she was a force to be reckoned with: a workaholic with a sharp tongue, a formidable presence in any room. She often woke up at 5 a.m. to start her day with a workout and even kept a set of weights in her office. 

Kenneth Rickert, an attorney responsible for legal matters at Diane McIver's company, U.S. Enterprises, testified that "Diane was difficult, she was a tough taskmaster."

Her cousin, Sandy Shane, said, "She was going to make her own path in this world. She wasn't going to have to rely on anybody. She was going to be a self-made woman.” 

At the same time, though, she was also known for her generosity. Friends said she never forgot a birthday and often took them with her on lavish trips, for which she footed the entire bill.

She had an unhappy childhood, but not as unhappy as some think

The legend that has spouted up around Diane McIver is one of rags-to-riches. Many of those who knew her said she grew up poverty-stricken, living in a trailer park, and struck out on her own to achieve wealth and prosperity as a corporate president. That isn't entirely true. Diane's cousin, Sandy Shane, said Diane grew up in relative comfort — certainly not in a trailer park. However, her rapid ascension into the business world was just that —  an ascension. Under the mentorship of Billy Corey, she went from answering phones to running the company. However, even though Diane didn’t grow up in a slum, Shane said her cousin’s childhood “wasn’t the happiest.”

She had a rocky relationship with her mother; Shane said the two "fought like cats and dogs," and Diane made plans to leave home as soon as she turned 18. Diane was estranged from her mother for the last 15 years of her mother's life and even refused to attend the funeral. Linda Winkler, her neighbor, said when she offered her friend condolences for the loss of her mother, Diane said, "I will not shed one single tear." 

She was very politically active 

Diane McIver and her husband, Tex, donated large sums to political campaigns for mostly Republican candidates — collectively totaling more than $100,000. They also hosted fundraising events at their Putnam County ranch for Republican gubernatorial candidates and had a "Blue Lives Matter" billboard erected in Eatonton.

She was fiercely devoted to her godson

Eleven-year-old Austin Schwall, the son of Fulton County Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall, was the light of Diane McIver’s life. His parents were close friends with the McIvers, and Diane, whom Austin affectionately called “Mommy Di,” payed for his nursery and tutoring. The boy also had a bedroom at the couple’s Putnam County ranch, which he visited often.  

“He adored her. She poured so much love into him and he did the same,” Austin’s mother, Anne Schwall, testified.

Billy Corey, Diane’s longtime mentor, summed it up this way on the stand: "If Tex and I were in intensive care and Austin needed toothpaste, she wouldn’t think a thing about leaving us there." 

Contention around whether Diane McIver changed her will so that Austin would inherit the ranch after her death has become a key point in the trial.

She loved clothes

Diane McIver had expensive taste. When her husband auctioned off her wardrobe at a highly scrutinized estate sale shortly after her death, more than 2,000 items — clothing, jewelry, shoes, handbags and furs — were part of the sale, many of which had designer labels and price tags in the thousands of dollars. Her enormous collection included 121 fur coats and more than 500 pieces of French and Italian costume jewelry

The estate sale spanned more than 1,200 square feet. Her neighbor, Linda Winkler, said Diane changed gowns multiple times over the course of her wedding weekend. Her engagement ring was worth $60,000.

This article was written by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Cruiser camera catches house explosion in Texas

A police cruiser camera caught footage of a house explosion in Texas after the driver of a car lost control and hit the house and struck a gas line on April 7.

>> Read more trending news

The newly released dash-cam footage from the Hurst Police Department captured the exact moment when the house burst into flames, sending police officers scrambling for their lives.

Officer Travis Hiser was walking toward the scene of the crash when the house exploded. The blast injured three people, one critically. Alejandro Enriquez-Castro, 35, of Hurst, the driver of the car, was arrested and charged with not having a driver’s license, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Hiser was treated at a local hospital and released, and another officer escaped with minor injuries, the Morning News reported.

A mother, father and their adult son were inside the home at the time of the crash and explosion. Officers could hear screaming in the house and breached a back door to rescue the family from the wreckage, according to the Hurst Police Department.

The woman was found severely injured and buried in rubble. The son was treated and released from the hospital, while both the mother and father are being treated for serious burn injuries, according to police.

"It happened so quick, and so fluid, and so fast," Corporal Ryan Tooker told KXAS. "It was more of just react, it was more of life-saving, than it was train on tactics or things of that nature." 

"There was definitely some divine intervention that was reaching down and slowing those vehicles down from making scene and then taking a finger and pushing me away from the house and the path that I went,” Hiser told KXAS. “Otherwise, I would have been up on the wall and it would have exploded completely into my face.”

Tortoise covered with paint, concrete discovered in Florida

A gopher tortoise covered with red spray paint and concrete was discovered near Montverde, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Wednesday in a Facebook post.

A pair of good Samaritans spotted the tortoise, which had concrete on its shell and limbs, in the middle of County Road 455 and took it to a wildlife rehabilitation center, officials said.

"It is both illegal and very harmful to the health of a gopher tortoise to apply man-made substances, such as paint or concrete, to any part of their body or shell," the post said.

Gopher tortoises are protected because they're considered a threatened species in Florida.

Read: Lake County man dug up gopher tortoises to eat them, deputies say

Read: 65-year-old woman has had pet tortoise 56 years

"Removing paint and concrete from gopher tortoises without harming it is a challenging process that causes the animal stress," the post said. "Applying substances like paint on tortoises can inhibit their ability to absorb vitamins from the sun’s UV rays through their shells, has the potential to cause respiratory problems and can lead to harmful chemicals being absorbed into their bloodstream."

>> Read more trending news 

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call FWC at 888-404-3922 or email the agency at tip@myfwc.com.

Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward.

Click here to read more information about gopher tortoises.

Read: California tortoise with cracked shell gets $4K repair

Investigators: Florida police officer met women in parks while on duty

Investigators in northeast Florida said an officer with the New Smyrna Beach Police Department was meeting women in public parks while he was on duty.

>> Read more trending news

Officer Beau Estrada resigned in January while the internal investigation into his activities was going on.

Investigators got a tip from a citizen who claimed he saw the officer having sex on the job, so they began following Estrada to different parks.

They said they discovered Estrada was meeting women at a park, which prompted the investigation. 

When investigators started following him while he was on duty, they captured photos of him meeting and kissing women. 

One day, they observed him meeting three different women at three different parks while on duty. None of them was his wife. 

One of the women told investigators she had sex with Estrada while he was on duty.

They said Estrada admitted to meeting women, but denied having sex with them while on the clock.

During another incident, investigators found Estrada neglected to take a domestic violence report on a case in which a man was seen bleeding from his left eye.

Around the same time as the call, Estrada's body camera video showed him texting two different women, investigators said. 

Estrada resigned before the investigations into the incidents were complete

A police lieutenant released a statement saying the New Smyrna Beach Police Department, “Take(s) incidents like this seriously, and Estrada's actions don't reflect the majority of great work done by others in the department every day.”

College students create app making it easier to track diabetes

When it comes to diabetes, the numbers are staggering -- 30 million Americans are estimated to be living with the disease, 1.4 million new cases are diagnosed annually in the United States and about 25 percent of those patients don’t know they have the disease.

Those numbers caught the attention of some Harvard students who came up with an easy way for people to track their blood sugar levels.

>> Read more trending news 

It’s an app called Checkmate Diabetes.

Harvard graduate student Michael Heisterkamp is part of the team developing the app and is also a diabetes patient. 

“You need to check 4-5 times a day, up to eight times a day, depending on what your doctor recommends, and that can be a bit of a grind," Heisterkamp said.

All those tests are essential for a person with diabetes because they need to make sure they’re in a safe range.

Dr. Jason Sloane, an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, said ‘the biggest problem is, once complications hit, it’s very hard to reverse them.”

Harvard senior Emi Gonzales got the idea for the app when there was a guest speaker in a class.

“He had lost his leg and was about to lose his other leg," Gonzales said. "And I talked to some more people with diabetes and this just seemed like a situation that needed fixing.”

The app makes a game out of tracking blood sugar levels, creating competitions within a person’s network. 

“If you have a scoring system and someone is doing better than you, pushing you, you know you want to get to first right," Gonzales said.

Checkmate Diabetes also offers the ability to connect with other patients.

Soon, they’ll start adding prizes.

Sloan, who has consulted with the budding entrepreneurs, said gamification has been shown to work for health care.

He believes this approach can get people to pay attention to diabetes earlier. 

“It has the potential to change things dramatically,” Sloan said. “Convincing young people, from my experience, has been very difficult. Even from a personal perspective, one of the last things I wanted to pay attention to was my blood sugar.”

Dr. Sloan said earlier interventions can reduce serious complications like kidney failure, amputations, and heart disease later in life.

Checkmate Diabetes is free to download.

Woman chasing dog in parking lot killed by armored truck on 22nd birthday

A California woman chasing her dog in a San Diego shopping center was killed Tuesday after she was hit by an armored truck, KNSD reported. 

>> Read more trending news

Mikaela Jones was chasing her dog, who had gotten away from her, at the La Jolla Village Shopping Center when she was hit, according to the San Diego Police Department. Tuesday was Jones’ 22nd birthday, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner.

Shortly after 5 p.m., a Garda armored truck was making a right turn when it hit Jones, dragging her a short distance, KSWB reported.

The woman's boyfriend, Hunter Chenier, said he saw the accident. "This (Garda) truck comes around the corner kind of fast and she was worried about the dog so she was waving her arms and then the truck just kind of slammed her and she went under the front and back wheels," Chenier said. "I ran up to her and was just making sure she was talking and she was talking, so that was a good sign."

Jones was taken to a hospital to be treated for major trauma, police said. She later died of her injuries, KNSD reported.

The driver of the armored truck, whose name was not released, remained at the scene and was cooperative with the investigation, KSWB reported. Alcohol was not suspected as a factor in the collision, police said.

911 operator sentenced to jail, probation for hanging up on emergency calls

She was supposed to be the connection between residents and emergency services, but instead of speaking to callers to the Harris County 911 center, she hung up on them. Creshanda Williams found out this week she will be spending time in jail and on probation for not dispatching help.

Williams was found guilty of interference with emergency telephone calls, KTRK reported.

The investigation of Williams’ calls started after Jim Moten said he dialed 911 after seeing two vehicles speeding. He thought his call was dropped after 45 seconds. The call wasn’t dropped, he was hung up on. Court documents said that Williams was the person who answered Moten’s call and hung up, saying “Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real.”

>> Read more trending news 

Court documents said that Williams had an abnormally large number of what are called “short calls,” or calls that last less than 20 seconds. The documents stated that “thousands of short calls have been attributed to the defendant from October 2015 through March 2016,” KTRK reported.

Williams worked for the 911 call center for a year and a half, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The calls she received ranged from robberies to homicides in addition to speeding cars, KHOU reported. Williams allegedly told investigators that she hung up on calls because she didn’t want to talk to anyone.

Williams has been sentenced to 10 days in jail and 18 months probation, the Chronicle reported.

Her supervisor had been placed on a year of internal probation, officials said last year, the Chronicle reported.

Michigan mother puts children in suitcase, leaves them at curb with garbage 

A Michigan woman put some of her children in a suitcase and placed them next to the garbage at the road, then fled before Child Protective Services personnel arrived, WEYI reported.

>> Read more trending news

The incident took place in Flint shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday, Flint Police said.

Police came to the residence to assist CPS officials, who were coming to take custody of the children. It was not clear whether four or five children were involved, but the youngest was 11 months old, WEYI reported.

Police said the woman stuffed at least one child on a suitcase and brought the luggage to the curb. She ran away from the scene, but police caught her, WEYI reported. She was taken to a hospital, as were all of the children.

Amazon warehouse culture like 'prison,' undercover author writes 

An undercover author said working in an Amazon fulfillment center is like "a prison," where workers were urinating in bottles because they did not have enough time to go to the bathroom. 

>> Read more trending news

James Bloodworth, as part of his book "Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain," spent almost a month in 2016 working as a "picker" at a fulfillment center in Rugeley, England, where he retrieved items for delivery.

In addition to his undercover work at Amazon, Bloodworth also took jobs in social care, at a call center, at a building site and even as an Uber driver to research how people cope at their workplace. 

According to Bloodworth, Amazon fulfillment workers had to meet high productivity targets that were feasible only if they ran around the warehouse. Running around the warehouse is something Amazon does not allow for safety reasons.

"The job itself is really bad," Bloodworth told Business Insider. "I've worked in warehouses before, but this was nothing like I had experienced. You don't have proper breaks — by the time you get to the canteen, you only have 15 or 20 minutes for lunch, in a 10½-hour working day. You don't have time to eat properly to get a drink.

"You have to go through security when you leave the warehouse, and that adds five minutes. It's like an airport — belt off, watch off. The atmosphere is what I imagine a prison feels like. You felt like you were walking on eggshells."

Bloodworth's claim that workers were so busy that they had to urinate in bottles sparked widespread outrage on social media on Monday.

Bloodworth told The Sun, a news company in the UK, that "workers often didn't take a break to go to the toilet because they were too sparse to get to quickly and they feared punishment for missing productivity targets. So they peed in bottles instead."

"If you're on the top floor, you know it will take five minutes to go the toilet, and all the time you're being admonished for taking too much idle time," Bloodworth said. 

Bloodworth explained how he came across a bottle of urine while searching for items on an upper floor of the warehouse.

"One day I'm walking down the aisle, and I go to pick up an item, and there's a bottle of straw-colored water on the shelf. And at first I thought, 'Oh, what's that?'" he said. "And then it was very obvious what it was. And there was a pool of water next to it. It struck me — it was so obvious why someone would do that."

According to Business Insider, Amazon said that it doesn't time warehouse workers' toilet breaks and that it ensures they can reach the bathrooms easily.

Amazon responded in a statement to Business Insider, saying that “We don't recognize these allegations as an accurate portrayal of activities in our buildings.”

The book can be found on Amazon’s website.

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