Carol Mills Gives Statement, Defense Plans to Appeal Guilty Verdict

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(Left to right: Member of Wayne Mills family, Assistant District Attorney Wesley King, Carol Mills {Wayne Mills’ widow}, Assistant District Attorney Tammy Meade)

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“I’m grateful to the State of Tennessee, for bringing the defendant to trial, and justice. On behalf of myself, our son Jack, and Wayne’s family and friends, thank you.”

This was the statement Carol Mills made in the Nashville courthouse where her husband’s killer, Chris Ferrell, was convicted of 2nd Degree Murder. Fiends and family, as well as the Assistant District Attorneys who prosecuted the case had gathered after the verdict was read in a separate part of the courthouse.

Prosecutors also offered statements right outside the court of Judge Steve Dozier after the verdict was read.

“This whole thing was just tragic,” said Assistant District Attorney Wesley King. “But at this point we’d like to go down and talk to the family and spend some time with them. We respect the verdict of the jury.”

carol-mills-wayne-2Assistant District Attorney Tammy Meade added, “We believed very strongly in this case. We believed it was a conscious act, we believed very strongly in our proof, in our case, and we believe the jury considered all of that and we absolutely respect their verdict.”

On the talk if the act should have been considered Voluntary Manslaughter, Tammy Meade added, “It was charged 2nd Degree, of course the state believed in that charge because we did proceed forward on that charge, but it’s ultimately up to the jury what they decide based on all the proof.”

As the family of Chris Ferrell left the courtroom, they were visibly distraught. Because the verdict had come so quickly, many of them were not in the court when the verdict was read, but entered as Judge Dozier was giving some of his final statements. Ferrell was not handcuffed in court to be taken into custody, but in a side room.

As defense attorney David Raybin exited the courtroom, he was adamant that the defense team would appeal the verdict.

We will appeal this case through the court. We feel there is significant appellate issues in this case regarding self-defense, which is the center of our case. It’s easy for a lawyer to say we are going to appeal. I’ve been an attorney for 40 years and I’ve appealed many homicide cases. We feel very comfortable that this man will get a new trial, and a new day in court. He testified in his own defense that this was self-defense, and I stand by that decision.

I’m not going to speculate why the jury considered what they did. Unfortunately this investigation as you all heard lacked much, and I blame the verdict on the failure of the government and the police to fully investigate this case at the time. Unfortunately it was my burden to present as much evidence as I could. A lot of the evidence was lost and destroyed by the police department. That’s not fair. That’s not just. We do everything we can to leave no stone unturned. It’s the failure to the government to preserve evidence. It is unfair to Mr. Mills and his family, and unfair to my client.

The jury made the decision based on what evidence they had. We believe it was an incorrect decision based on the absence of evidence that should have been preserved by police. Mr. Ferrell is in custody. There will be a sentencing hearing on April the 10th. The judge will sentence Mr. Ferrell, and then that will commence the appellate process.

I want to thank each of you members of the press for fair and even coverage, I want to thank all the participants who were here, who kept their peace and allowed this case to be tried in a civil manner in a court. But I absolutely meant what I said in court today that this was self-defense, and I can only present so much evidence that the police lost. I’m disappointed, I respect the jury’s decision, based on what they had to work with.

Sentence in Tennessee for 2nd Degree Murder is 15 to 25 years. It is a Class A felony, and it does not carry any parole. So if he gets 15 years he will serve most of it. But of course we intend to appeal that.

Mr. Ferrell of course is in custody. We spoke to him immediately after the verdict. He wanted us to talk to his family, how much he loved his family, how much he cared for his family, and how much he appreciates the coverage that you all had and the massive support that he did.

This case is not over. It will continue on.

When asked if Chris Ferrell had any words after the verdict, David Raybin said,

Yes. He has faith in the judicial system. He feels so sorry that his friend died. And the one question that the prosecutor never asked him which I couldn’t was did he have regret, remorse, and sorrow for Mr. Mills death, and he does. As an attorney, I could not express that on the stand, nor could he convey that prior to the trial. But if the prosecutor would have asked him he certainly would have done this. They were friends, they were both friends. And he still doesn’t know why Mr. Mills acted the way he did. I wish I knew myself.