Today, November 17, 2014, would have been the date for the trial of accused killer, Chris Ferrell, charged with second-degree murder of popular 44-year old Country music outlaw singer/songwriter, and husband, father, Wayne Mills. A criminal court judge of the Criminal Court of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County, originally set today as the trial date; however, because a witness could not testify this month, the trial will begin five months later, on March 2, 2015.
In addition, a discussion docket against the alleged murderer, Chris Ferrell, for charges of assault, vandalism, and interference with a 911 call from a previous incident will also see the new date of March 2, 2015. It appears that all of Chris Ferrell’s troubles will all come together in one day on March 2, 2015.
Ferrell, former owner of the now closed and liquidated Pit and Barrel in Nolensville, Tennessee, is charged with second-degree murder on Dec. 6, 2013, however, he still holds to the story that he was acting in self-defense. A judge reduced Ferrell’s bond from $300,000 to $150,000. He bonded out from jail, on December 16, 2013 at 6:54 p.m., only ten days after murder charges were filed. While he awaits trial, Ferrell must wear a GPS monitoring device as one of the conditions of his bond. Ferrell was also ordered to give up his extensive collection of guns.
For Wayne’s widow, Carol and their 8-year-old son, Jack, the delay is another devastating heartbreak in a long year of tragedy. Carol told the Nashville Tennessean “We miss Wayne terribly every single day and it never hurts any less and it never goes away, so we kind of push through each day and do the best we can and what we think Wayne would want us to do,” explains Carol. “You know, your heart drops. You’ve kind of mentally prepared to be ready for it and I think I was almost getting to that place.”
Carol said of the delay, “It’s disheartening. You lose your stomach a little bit and you think, gosh I have to prepare myself again,” she said. Carol says that no matter the outcome of the legal process her life and Jack’s will never be the same. “Wayne’s gone. Wayne can’t come back and there’s nothing that can change that for me,” she said.
The tragic event began to unfold in the early morning hours, just before 5 a.m. on Saturday, November 23, 2013. Country music outlaw songwriter and singer, Wayne Mills (Jerald Wayne Mills) walked into The Pit and Barrel (no longer listed on social media) on 2nd Street in Nolensville, Tennessee. Moments later, witnesses overheard an argument between Mills and the Pit and Barrel’s owner, Ferrell. The two men, both 44 years old, had been friends.
Ironically, Ferrell testified that he posed for a group photo at 4:08 a.m brandishing a gun. alongside Mills, musician Shooter Jennings, (the only child of country music icons Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter) and others. The crowd had dissipated by the time Ferrell called 911 to report the shooting at 4:56 a.m.
Police arrived at the bar minutes later, where they found a trail of blood from the parking lot to just inside the front door, where Mills lay, breathing but unconscious. Ferrell told officers that Mills tried to rob and kill him and that he “had to do it,” an officer testified. Witnesses claimed that the argument was simply about Wayne smoking a cigarette in a non-smoking area. Chris Ferrell’s self-defense claim was an unbelievable excuse to family, friends and fans, in light of the fact that Ferrell admittedly shot Wayne several times with the fatal bullet to the back of his head.
Wayne, who led the Wayne Mills Band, died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, hours after the shooting. The Wayne Mills Band manager, J.R. Smith said, “What a tragic loss to Country music and a senseless ending to a continually rising career, over such a mundane act of smoking.” (See original story at http://yeahstub.com/article/wayne-mills-death-spike-tv-issues-apology-airing-pit-and-barrel-episode)
The autopsy confirmed Mills’ death was a homicide and later released findings in January 2014 that Wayne Mills died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head from a distance, Though some reports had Wayne Mills being shot multiple times, Wayne only suffered one gunshot wound. However, multiple other injuries were found on his body. Wayne’s 4th and 5th ribs were broken, and he had abrasions on his forehead, temple, scalp (unassociated with the gunshot), and contusions on his chest, arms, forearms, left thigh, and right knee. Toxicology tests for amphetamines in Wayne Mills’ body was explained to be an Adderall prescription, however, those tests for both men showed positive for alcohol.
Wayne and his band had been working on his on a new project, a seventh album, Long Hard Road, and was looking forward to a major distribution deal before the incident happened. Wayne’s brand of Honky-Tonk music was rapidly picking up a large and loyal fan base, with the 2010 hit release of “The Last Honky Tonk.” Ironically, the name of his last release would be just that.
In his brief life, Wayne Mills, released a total of six albums during his career, was awarded the Guardian Award by the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame a month before his death, for his hard work and “unwavering commitment to their music and their fans and by exemplifying the tradition of the movement.” had just finished a brand new album called Long Hard Road and, until his death, he was actively working on the album’s release and distribution.
Fellow country singer J.D. Outlaw sang a song he wrote 2 months ago about Wayne Mills called “Modern Day Hank” JD Outlaw’s Modern Day Hank CD is now available here. J.D. Outlaw also opened a bar in Dickson, Tennessee named after Mills’ song “Last Honky Tonk”. The night prior to Wayne’s death, he finished a performance at J.D.’s “The Wanted Saloon.”
Wayne’s memorial service was held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, at Arab High School’s auditorium in the late performer’s hometown of Arab, Alabama about 140 miles away from Nashville, Tennessee. A private burial followed the service at Brookwood Cemetery, 2059 Guntersville Road, Arab, AL 35016-3949
Wayne Mills was a heralded country singer/songwriter who helped many up and coming musician friends find a way into the Nashville music scene. He was a good friend and mentor to Blake Shelton. As RadarOnline.com reported, Mills was in the audience for one of Shelton’s shows just hours before his 5 a.m. death. The Voice coach was devastated at the news and vowed to do whatever he could to bring about justice for his friend. Wayne was a former University of Alabama football player, and most importantly, a devoted husband to his wife Carol for more than 20 years, and a caring, loving father to his son Jack, now 8 years-old.
Carol and her son, Jack will again face the upcoming holidays with any joy overshadowed by the reminder of what happened at this time, as it will for Chris Ferrell. As with any tragedy born in the heat of the moment and the death of a loved one, no one wins. If there is little consolation, it is that Wayne Mills was an organ donor and according to Carol, has saved at least five lives through his donor gifts.
Despite many benefits and tributes to Wayne’s memory, Carol and Jack are still struggling emotionally and financially. If you wish to help, please contact the Wayne Mills Family Fund (Click here for more info on where to donate to the Wayne Mills Family Fund). You can also help by purchasing “The Last Honky Tonk” from Wayne Mills at http://waynemillsband.com/