- Associated Press - Saturday, January 18, 2014
Autopsy: Nashville singer shot in back of head

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - An autopsy for a Nashville-based singer-songwriter who was killed by a bar owner shows Wayne Mills was shot in the back of the head.

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.


Guard recruiter denied release in armory shooting

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee National Guard recruiter charged with trying to kill four of his superiors at an armory told a fellow soldier he would start shooting if he was fired from his job, an FBI agent testified Friday.

Special Agent Matthew Ross revealed the information at a detention hearing for Sgt. 1st Class Amos Patton. Magistrate Judge Charmaine Claxton later denied bond for Patton, a 14-year-Guard veteran who has pleaded not guilty to charges that he tried to kill four Guard members when he opened fire inside the armory in Millington, northeast of Memphis. Patton’s lawyer had asked the judge to give him house arrest until his Feb. 10 trial.

Ross testified that Patton was being disciplined after an investigation into sexual assault claims by a female soldier when he opened fire inside a guard armory on Oct. 24. Prosecutors say Patton, 42, pulled a gun from a fanny pack and started shooting after he was told he was being relieved of duty and dismissed from active service for misconduct. Authorities say three guard members suffered minor injuries in the shooting. A fourth soldier fought with Patton and helped subdue him after he fled the armory.

Prosecutors and Guard officials had released information about the shooting, but Friday’s hearing revealed more details about the circumstances that led up to it, including prior altercations Patton allegedly had with his wife of 18 years and threats of suicide.

During the roughly three-month sexual assault investigation, Patton began to confide in Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Turner, Ross said.

Turner told Ross that Patton threatened he “would in fact pull out a gun and shoot everyone that was there” if he was fired, Ross said.


Tenn. man arrested in Arkansas St. player’s death

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - A 22-year-old Tennessee man has been charged with murder in the death of an Arkansas State football player and his stepfather, who were shot to death during a home invasion robbery.

Jackson police said Derrick Wade of Jackson was charged with two counts of felony murder of 21-year-old Markel Owens and 36-year-old Johnny Shivers; especially aggravated robbery of Shivers; attempted first-degree murder of Owens’ mother, 37-year-old Chermaine Owens; aggravated assault of Shivers’ 16-year-old son; and tampering with evidence.

Wade is being held at the Madison County jail. Online jail information does not indicate whether Wade is represented by a lawyer.

Police were called to the home in Jackson Wednesday night.

Police found Wade at a relative’s home Thursday after he sought treatment at a Memphis hospital for a gunshot wound Wednesday night. Investigators are searching for a second gunman.


Panel gives reprieve to 2 appellate judges

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A panel that helps decide whether appeals court judges can keep their jobs has voted to give 22 members of the state appeals courts and Supreme Court positive recommendations. That means they will stand for simple yes-no retention votes in the August election.

The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission met on Friday despite a court ruling earlier this week that the panel is invalid because it does not have enough female members.

Two appeals court judges who initially received negative evaluations went before the panel on Friday to make a case for why they should stay on the bench. Ultimately, the panel voted 7-2 in favor of Judge Andy Bennett and 6-3 in favor of Judge Camille R. McMullen.

If the panel had recommended for replacement, the incumbent judges could still run for office, but they would have faced contested elections with the possibility of opponents.

In reality, those contested elections never happen because judges who are recommended for replacement simply retire. That’s what Criminal Appeals Judge Jerry Smith decided to do after the commission gave him a negative evaluation in a preliminary vote last fall. Smith had pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in Knoxville the previous year.

Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville expressed disappointment in the panel’s reprieve for Bennett and McMullen in a statement he released to the news media.



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