Wayne Mills Murder Trial Ends in Guilty Verdict for Chris Ferrell
A jury in Nashville convicted 46-year-old Chris Ferrell of second-degree murder on Friday (March 6), the Tennessean newspaper reports.
Ferrell shot and killed Mills in the early morning hours on Nov. 23, 2013 at the Pit and Barrel, a bar he owned in downtown Nashville. Initial reports said he shot Mills during an argument over the singer smoking in the non-smoking section of the bar. Ferrell — who had been friends with the singer — claimed Mills threatened him, forcing him to shoot the singer in self-defense. There were no witnesses to the incident.
Mills' autopsy showed that his cause of death was a gunshot to the back of the head, which was not fired at close range. The singer also had two broken ribs, widespread bruising and cuts on his forehead, temple and scalp. Ferrell turned himself in to police on Dec. 6 and was released after posting $125,000 bond.
His trial lasted five days, ending with the guilty verdict after Ferrell's lawyers failed to persuade the jury that he had acted in self-defense. Mills' family and friends reacted to the verdict with tears as his widow, Carol, visibly shook and cried openly in Judge Steve Dozier's courtroom, according to the Tennessean.
"I am grateful to the state of Tennessee for bringing the defendant to trial and justice, on behalf of myself, our son, Jack, Wayne's family and friends," she said afterward.
Defense attorney David Raybin promised an appeal after the verdict was read, citing evidence that he says was missing from the case.
Ferrell is scheduled for sentencing on April 10. He faces 15-25 years in prison.
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