Bar owner Chris Ferrell has told police he shot Mills in self-defense in the pre-dawn hours of Nov. 23. Ferrell says the two got into an argument over the musician smoking a cigarette in a no-smoking area of Ferrell’s Pit and Barrel bar in downtown Nashville.
Mills was brought to Vanderbilt University Medical Center at about 5:30 a.m. and died there about twelve hours later.
According to the autopsy from the Davidson County Medical Examiner’s Office, Mills died from the gunshot wound, although he also had two broken ribs plus several bruises and scrapes. The report said there was no evidence the gun was fired at close range.
The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department has said its investigation found the evidence did not support Ferrell’s self-defense claim. He is charged with second degree murder and is free on a $150,000 bond.
A call and email to Ferrell’s attorney, David Raybin, late Friday afternoon were not immediately returned. Previously, Raybin has said his client is not guilty of any degree of homicide.
A spokeswoman for Mills’ family, Beverley Keel, said the family has no comment because the investigation is still ongoing.
According to biographical information in his obituary and memorial service announcement, Mills toured for more than 15 years as 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.