The 2nd Degree Murder case against former Pit & Barrel Bar owner Chris Michael Ferrell who is accused of killing country music artist Wayne Mills, is headed to trial. Chris Ferrell was in the Davidson County District Court today in downtown Nashville as part of a discussion date about the pending charges. A trial date was set for November 17th. It will be a jury trial in the court of Judge Steve Dozier.
Chris Ferrell’s lawyer, David Raybin, also made another motion to attempt to remove GPS monitoring from Ferrell. A similar motion had been made as part of Ferrell’s last court date. Once again that motion was denied by Judge Dozier, but the fee Ferrell is required to pay for the monitoring was capped at $100.
The court date ends a period where the prosecution and defense attempted to reach an out-of-court resolution. “Each side tries to set a resolution,” Susan Niland of the Davidson County District Attorney’s office explains. “95% of cases resolve without a trial.” The setting of a trial date means the two parties could not reach a settlement. The Wayne Mills murder trial will commence just a few days before the one year anniversary of his death.
Wayne Mills was shot and killed by Chris Ferrell at the Pit & Barrel Bar in Nashville—a bar that Chris Ferrell owned— at roughly 5 AM on November 23rd. The two men had been hanging out after the George Jones Tribute concert at the Bridgestone Arena earlier that night. Chris Ferrell called 911, and when police arrived, he claimed he shot Mills in self-defense. Though the first reports had the altercation starting because Wayne was smoking in a non-smoking section, Ferrell later said in court that Wayne had come to the bar to “rob and kill” him. Two guns were found at the scene when police arrived: an empty revolver and a semi-automatic handgun. A private investigator hired by Chris Ferrell—former city homicide detective Larry Flair—also found an additional bullet lodged in a wall of the Pit & Barrell. Subsequently, the bar has been liquidated.
The autopsy report for Wayne Mills released on January 16th showed that the musician had been shot in the back of the head, and there was no powder burns that would indicate the shot was fired at close range. To fans and family of the deceased singer, this refutes Chris Ferrell’s claims of self-defense in the killing. The autopsy also revealed broken bones and other trauma Wayne Mills had suffered, and a slight testing for amphetamines that friends say was tied to an Adderall prescription.
After the killing, Chris Ferrell remained free for two weeks, until being indicted by a grand jury and turning himself into police. He was subsequently released and is currently free on a $150,000 bond.