NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Nashville bar owner was convicted of second degree murder Friday for the fatal shooting of a country singer-songwriter.
Chris Ferrell had told jurors that he shot Wayne Mills in November 2013 in self-defense. But Nashville jurors sided with prosecutors who argued that Ferrell intended to kill Mills when he shot him after a heated argument at his now-defunct bar. Ferrell will be sentenced on April 10.
He testified that the two got into an argument at his Pit and Barrel bar in downtown Nashville and that Mills threatened to kill him.
"I reached to the top of the cooler and retrieved my .22-caliber ..." Ferrell said, according to The Tennessean newspaper (http://tnne.ws/1BQ3nh2). "And I fired it.
"I fired in fear."
Ferrell said he grabbed bar towels to try and stop the bleeding, but then began to panic and put an unloaded gun next to Mills.
"Why would that cause you to panic?" David Raybin, Ferrell's attorney, asked him.
"Because I thought I'd, because I thought I'd done something wrong at that point," Ferrell said.
An autopsy found that Mills was shot in the back of the head.
Mills toured for more than 15 years as the lead singer of the Wayne Mills Band. Country music stars Jamey Johnson and Blake Shelton, as well as American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, all opened for the band in their early careers.
Mills graduated from the University of Alabama with an education degree, and also played football for the school.
He moved to Nashville in 2003.