Wayne Mills Murder Case Update: 4 Months After

March 28, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  18 Comments
Chris Ferrell

Chris Ferrell

UPDATE: The Death of Wayne Mills – One Year Later

Chris Michael Ferrell, the defendant facing 2nd Degree Murder charges in the November 23rd shooting death of country music artist Wayne Mills, was in the Davidson County District Court of Judge Steve Dozier in Nashville Friday (3-28) as part of a discussion date between the Davidson County District Attorneys and the defense. This was the first time the two sides had met in court since January 16th as part of a previous discussion date when some procedural matters dealing with Chris Ferrell’s bond were addressed. A previous discussion date of February 6th was not utilized because nether side had anything to broach in court. Discussion dates are not part of a criminal trial, but procedural court appearances that happen roughly every 4 to 6 weeks during a pending criminal case to determine and update what the status of the case is with the court and all parties.

According to the court clerk for Judge Dozier, very little was discussed or determined in today’s court proceedings, but a new discussion date of May 9th was set for the matter to proceed. A motion was made by the defense to remove GPS monitoring from Ferrell as a condition of his bond, but the judge did not rule on the motion either way. The case at the moment is in a period where the prosecution may be attempting to reach a plea deal with the defense in lieu of a trial, while the defense will be looking to strengthen their case and determine their best course of action.

“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.” Though murder cases specifically are more likely to go to trial, there’s no guarantee that will happen in the case of Wayne Mills’ murder. This current period where there’s no trial, and no resolution in a case as the prosecution and defense try to find an amicable resolution is normal, and could extend for quite some time.“You can’t even ballpark how long it could take for a trial to be set,” says Susan Niland, if the case goes to trial at all.


Wayne Mills

A trial may be the only way Ferrell could fully exonerate himself from the charges, as opposed to taking a plea down to lesser offenses or for a lesser sentence, barring any new evidence surfacing that proves his claim of self-defense and the charges are dropped. Likewise if prosecutors feel the 2nd Degree Murder charges are completely warranted and no deal for Ferrell is fair, the case may still end up at trial. Prosecutors and the defense negotiate back and forth based on the evidence of the case, the potential motive, and however strong either side feels their case is.

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.

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.

Stay tuned to Saving Country Music for additional information on the continuing case of the death of Wayne Mills.

READ: The Autopsy Report of Wayne Mills Released

18 Comments to “Wayne Mills Murder Case Update: 4 Months After”

  • I was in that bar the week of the CMA awards. (I didn’t attend that sewage, I was in the CM Hall of Fame…)
    This is a pointless tragedy.


  • This is so sad to read. It took Wayne Mills dying for me to discover his music, and now I cannot get enough of it. Wasted talent. This guy was as good as anybody in the game right now.

    It makes me sad to think about all the lives that have been ruined because of this. Mills’ and his family, Ferrell’s and his family. The ripple effect of a stupid bar altercation gone bad. There may or may not have been more involved, but none of that will undo this, so it doesn’t really matter. What’s done is done. A lesson can be learned from this. There’s never any shame in walking away. If either one of these guys would have walked away, the country music world would be a little bit brighter than it is today.

    Thanks for keeping us updated on this Trig.


  • Trigger,
    I understand you are I don’t want to say obligated but sort of as you’ve been covering this but I’ll be honest I don’t like it I’m not telling you to stop I just find any trial story distasteful these days and I know I don’t have to read it but I read it for info once again don’t take this as me telling you to stop covering this. Also and I’m not defending the guy but your saying he’s guilty whether or not he turned himself in he still needs to be found it by a court of law be that via trial or plea we don’t know beyond a reasonable doubt if he killed him we may think so but until he’s proven it we don’t. Finally if he is found guilty and I don’t know if according to state law this warrants it but I hope he doesn’t get the death penalty a life for a life hurts more people.


    • Hey Mike,

      First off, I am not saying that I think Chris Ferrell is guilty. I’ve never said that, nor am I assuming anything about this case. It is too convoluted, and we have far too little information about it to make any assumptions. What we do know is that Chris Ferrell shot and killed Wayne Mills, so it may come across as I’m saying he’s guilty. I am doing everything in my power with this story to be as impartial as humanly possible and let the people decide based off of the facts that have been admitted into the public record.

      Also, since this is 2nd Degree Murder, I don’t see any scenario where Chris Ferrell would get the death penalty.

      As for covering this story specifically, I honestly felt weird about posting this story myself because there’s really no new information on the case that came out yesterday in court, aside from the fact that the timeline has been extended. When this same thing happened on Feb. 6th, (nobody even appeared in court then) I didn’t post a story, and I somewhat regret that because I think there are a lot of people out there that think these court dates may result in Chris Ferrell being convicted or something. That is why I took the time to explain and reiterate where this process is for concerned fans, friends, and family, on both sides of the courtroom.

      I hate the fact that I have to cover this story. Really, this is the job of the local media in Nashville. But unfortunately, they aren’t doing it. I was the one that broke the story that Wayne had died, I’m the one that hunted down the Autopsy report, I was the one who made 22 individual phone calls yesterday only to find out there was no real substantial new information on the case. I’m not tooting my own horn, I have album reviews to write. But if everyone else is going to drop the ball, I’m willing to pick it up. Because a man is dead, and we still don’t have any answers. At the same time, if it bothers people to see these types of stories here, I totally understand. Because it bothers me too.


      • Thank you for the updates. Friends of Wayne really want to know what is going on with this case. We think of him every day and are wanting justice to be served. He was an incredible person. His murder was unwarranted and devastating. Such a loss. We really appreciate the coverage, Trigger.


      • “I’m not tooting my own horn, I have album reviews to write.”

        Certainly better than the top 10, best of and mainstream cheese ball country star stories that have dominated the blog lately. Love your reviews Trig, but definitely dislike the other stuff which sadly drives traffic to SCM.


        • I have no desire to preach to a choir, and I’m not going to shirk from big topics effecting the overall health of country music just because they may put celebrity names in my titles. Saving Country Music is pushing more independent music now than it ever has, and that is not an opinion, that is a fact that can be verified by statistics of how many articles I’m posting and the topics they cover, despite what some may see or say anecdotally, or whatever sentiments are swirling on Facebook or other places at any given time. I have no desire to try and scratch the surface of music just so I can post more album reviews, because even if I post twice as many as I have been, and I would still see comments like this. I’d rather focus on a few albums in a given week and really delve into them and listen and try to really understand the expression of that artist and then spend good time trying to convey my feelings about their music to my readers than to push out six or seven in a week just to endear myself to a scene. Trust me when I say it pursues me more that it does anyone else that there’s music out there that needs more attention, and I am doing everything I can to engage people and get more music to more people.


    • I dont find anything in the writing of this article pointing a finger at anyone. Honest reporting, and keeping those of us who were Wayne’s friends, as well as worked with him musically, up to date on whats going on with the case. Hoping for Justice, whatever that may be.
      That tragedy here is your lack of punctuation! Theres only ONE period in in your entire comment. Thank you public school system….

      RIP Wayne, we miss ya


  • “To fans and family of the deceased signer,”


  • Thanks for the update.


  • Thank you Kyle. I disagree with Mike. If you do not see this through, if all that is written about Wayne’s murder was what was already written, then Wayne’s death would have been reduced to quick sensationalism that is now old news that is no longer interesting. He was an underground musician that died senselessly and needlessly. He was one of our own. And if the world don’t think he is worthy of writing about, I am glad you do Kyle. I don’t think you realize how well you’re appreciated. Don’t ever change.


  • I was a good friend of Wayne’s. No way that one guy inflicted all those injuries to Wayne by himself. And in twenty years I have never seen Wayne carry a gun. Ther is something so wrong with this story. There is a lot more that has not been told. I hope jusice is served.:Love ya Wayne


  • Thanks so much for keeping us updated Trigger! Some of us are unable to make it to the court but want to know what is going on. I was checking several Nashville news web pages yesterday and found nothing. I finally found a post by a friend of a friend but, it was hard to understand due to the writer being upset at the time of their posting. Thanks again!!


  • Thx for the update. I was wondering what was going on with the case. We are missing something in the facts, not sure what it is. I think there’s more to the story than we are hearing. My gut tells me that if the facts do come out, Ferrell (and maybe others) will be headed to the pen.


  • Please give us all the info on this case that you can.I live in Tuscaloosa and cant count how many times I saw Wayne and how many times he was so nice to us, his fans were treated like family by him.The one thing I would ask is that you stop posting pictures of the sonofabitch that murdered him !


  • The “Wayne Mills Murder Case” is one of the few reasons I come back to your self glorified site. tHANKS for the “update”!!!


  • They checked Wayne’s blood for alcohol and drugs. What about Ferrell’s? I would like to know what was in his blood at the time of the shooting.


    • I have never been able to attain that answer. My assumption is that answer’s ‘no.” We will find out come March for sure.


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