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The homicide investigation into the death of country music songwriter and Outlaw artist Wayne Mills is likely headed to the Grand Jury, according to information Saving Country Music has obtained from multiple sources close to the investigation. According to Susan Niland of the Davidson County District Attorney’s office, they have received the file in the homicide investigation from the police department. Though the District Attorney’s Office is prohibited by law from speaking directly on matters pertaining to a Grand Jury and the investigation is still open and ongoing, all the preliminary evidence has been compiled and all preliminary findings have been concluded by Nashville Police investigators.
The current Grand Jury for December is set to be dismissed next week, and the next Grand Jury will not convene until the beginning of the new year. Though it is still a possibility that the Wayne Mills case could be taken up in the early part of next week, it is likely that it won’t be addressed until after the holidays by the new Grand Jury. If new evidence or information comes to light between now and when the next Grand Jury convenes, the matter could be delayed going to the Grand Jury, or taken up in greater detail by either police investigators, or the District Attorney.
Saving Country Music also spoke to Sherry Lewis at the Davidson County Medical Examiners Office who says that the autopsy has yet to be concluded. Autopsies can take up to 8 to 14 weeks after the death to be finished and for a report to be issued, and the medical examiner does not release preliminary or partial conclusions.
A report from WHNT News 19 in Alabama from December 3rd stated that the case was headed to the Grand Jury, and that the autopsy concluded that Wayne was shot once in the back of the head. However their source for this information was cited as NewsChannel 5, the CBS affiliate in Nashville, but NewsChannel 5 in Nashville is not publicly reporting that information.
44 year-year-old Jerald Wayne Mills was at the Pit and Barrel Bar at 5 AM on November 23rd when apparently an altercation erupted with the owner, Chris Michael Ferrell, after Wayne was smoking in a non-smoking area. Everyone else in the bar went outside, and later witnesses heard gunshots fired and called police. Ferrell told police he acted in self-defense. The bar owner has a valid handgun carry permit. Chris Ferrell and Wayne Mills were reportedly friends, and they were hanging out at the bar after attending the George Jones Tribute earlier in the evening. Wayne Mills was initially mistakenly identified by witnesses as another Nashville songwriter, Clayton Mills, before the error was discovered many hours into the investigation.
On December 4th, a benefit concert was held for the family of Wayne Mills at the Tin Roof bar in Nashville. NewsChannel 5 in Nashville covered the event.