It was a busy year in country music, with lots of controversy, lots of legal issues, and even death surrounding country music artists. It was a tumultuous 2015 to say the least. Here are the top news stories of the year taking into consideration 1) Their importance to country music overall 2) The interest, or accumulated interest in the story if covered in multiple articles, based on traffic registered at Saving Country Music.
Chris Michael Ferrell won’t receive a new trial in the shooting death of country music artist Wayne Mills. That was the decision Judge Steve Dozier of the Davidson County Criminal Court came to on Friday (5-29), despite the pleas of Ferrell’s defense attorney David Raybin. However the appeal process may be just beginning for the Ferrell defense.
Chris Michael Ferrell has been sentenced to 20 years in prison in the 2nd Degree Murder of country music artist Wayne Mills. The decision was handed down by Judge Steve Dozier in the Davidson County Criminal Court Friday morning (4-24). Ferrell was found guilty in the shooting death of Mills on March 6th in a jury trial. He claimed self-defense in the case. Ferrell will have no chance for parole.
Despite the actual sentencing of Chris Ferrell in the 2nd Degree Murder of country artist Wayne Mills being delayed now until April 24th, the bulk of the sentencing proceedings occurred as scheduled while many members of Wayne’s immediate and extended family, as well as numerous friends and fans of the country artist watched on.
The sentencing in the 2nd Degree Murder trial of Chris Ferrell in the death of Wayne Mills has been delayed until April 24th, though the bulk of the sentencing hearing transpired as scheduled in the court of Steve Dozier in Nashville Friday (4-10) morning. Many of the members of Wayne’s extended family were in attendance for the sentencing, including Wayne’s young son Jack who had not been in the courtroom for the trial.
It’s very likely Chris Ferrell could have plead down to Voluntary Manslaughter if he’d forgone a jury trial. We don’t know that for sure, but as it was explained to Saving Country Music by the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office, it is always the attempt of prosecutors to plead down to avoid the costly and time-consuming effort of a trial. 95% of criminal cases in Davidson County are settled without a trial.
“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. As David Raybin exited the courtroom, he was adamant that the defense team would appeal the verdict.
Chris Ferrell shot country music artist Wayne Mills at the Pit and Barrel bar Ferrell owned in Nashville on November 23rd., 2013. Wayne Mills was attending an after hours party at the Pit and Barrel when a dispute about smoking inside caused the two friends to get into a verbal argument. The argument escalated until Wayne Mills verbally threatened Chris Ferrell, and out of fear, the bar owner pulled a .22 pistol…
The matter of the 2nd Degree Murder Trial of Christopher Michael Ferrell in the killing of Gerald Wayne Mills has been turned over to the jury for deliberation. After the prosecution and defense made their closing arguments, Judge Steve Dozier read the jury instructions and ordered them into deliberations. The jury is currently in deliberations.
Despite five to six inches of sleet and snow in the Nashville area, and most government offices remaining closed including the municipal courts, the court of Judge Steve Dozier was open to proceed with the Wayne Mills murder trial. Judge Dozier is known for opening his court no matter what the circumstances. The court came in session at roughly 11:00 a.m. after a weather delay.
On Wednesday afternoon (3-4), the court of Judge Steve Dozier re-convened after a lunch recess to hear the testimony of lead detective Leonard Peck. Detective Peck testified that at the scene of the shooting, defendant Chris Ferrell told him Wayne Mills had displayed the .45 Taurus “Judge” revolver and threatened to kill him. The 50-minute police station interview between Ferrell and the detective was played in court.
Crime scene investigator Sharon Tilly was the next on the witness stand. She collected the majority of the evidence, including the two guns, the cigarette pieces that started the altercation, the broken glass shards from when Wayne Mills broke the drinking glass, Wayne’s cell phone, and the hat Wayne was wearing at the time of the shooting.
Though much had been made of Wayne Mills being a musician, Jamey Johnson and Shooter Jennings being linked to the case, and much was made about what might happen if Blake Shelton showed up in court in support of the Wayne Mills family, two other notable musicians also were involved in the after hours party at the Pit and Barrel bar where Wayne Mills was shot.
In the Davidson County Criminal Court of Judge Steve Dozier on Tuesday (3-3), opening arguments were heard by the jury, and the prosecution began to call their first witnesses. As part of the prosecution’s presentation, the 911 call made by the defendant Christopher Ferrell was played for the courtroom and entered into evidence.
The 2nd Degree Murder case against Christopher Ferrell commenced in the court of Judge Steve Dozier Tuesday morning. Before opening statements, former police detective and private investigator Larry Flair took the witness stand to determine what lines of testimony would be permissible from him in court…
What should have been a mostly routine procedural event turned into a marathon court session as the prosecution and defense in the Wayne Mills murder trial tried to fill 12 juror slots and two alternates to hear the 2nd Degree Murder charges against bar owner Christopher Ferrell in a trial set to start the evidence phase Tuesday morning.
Though Monday is to be primarily focused on jury selection, in pretrial motions before jury selection, some previously-unknown details about the case were revealed to the public, along with some of the stances the defense is likely to take in attempting to prove Chris Ferrell acted in self-defense. We also learned about some of the witnesses likely to be called in the trial.
Country music artist Wayne Mills was shot in the back of the head at a far range by Chris Ferrell on the morning of November 23rd, 2013 at the Pit & Barrel bar in Nashville, TN. The shooting happened near 5:00 AM. Both men were at the Pit & Barrel attending an after hours party held after the memorial ceremony and concert held for George Jones at the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville.
One year ago today, Outlaw country artist and songwriter Wayne Mills was shot in the back of the head at the Pit & Barrel Bar in Nashville, TN at approximately 5:00 AM after an altercation erupted with the bar’s owner, Chris Michael Ferrell—a friend of Wayne’s who was hosting an after hours gathering following a tribute concert to George Jones earlier in the evening at the Bridgestone Arena.
Friends, fans, and family of slain country music artist Wayne Mills will have to wait a little longer to attempt to get the answers and justice they seek in the songwriter’s death. The 2nd Degree Murder trial for the man accused of killing Wayne, bar owner Chris Ferrell, has been pushed back nearly five months from its originally scheduled date.