Chris Ferrell was convicted of 2nd degree murder for picking up a .22 pistol and firing three times at Wayne Mills after Mills had twice threatened to kill Ferrell. The third bullet hit Mills in the back of the head. He later died of his injuries.
According to an appeal ruling:
The Defendant and the victim had been drinking throughout the night before and that morning when, in the early morning hours of November 23, 2013, they engaged in an argument over the victim‟s decision to smoke inside the Pit and Barrel. That argument included the Defendant‟s smacking a cigarette either from the victim‟s mouth or his hand.
Both men began swearing and yelling at each other, and this culminated with the victim‟s threatening to kill the Defendant. After walking towards the doorway, the victim threatened to kill the Defendant one last time. The victim then threw his glass down on the ground and turned towards the Defendant.
After the trial, Ferrell’s attorney made a strong statement stating that his client was wrongly convicted.
“We will appeal this case through the court. We feel there is significant appellate issues in this case regarding self-defense, which is the center of our case. It’s easy for a lawyer to say we are going to appeal. I’ve been an attorney for 40 years and I’ve appealed many homicide cases. We feel very comfortable that this man will get a new trial, and a new day in court. He testified in his own defense that this was self-defense, and I stand by that decision.
I’m not going to speculate why the jury considered what they did. Unfortunately this investigation as you all heard lacked much, and I blame the verdict on the failure of the government and the police to fully investigate this case at the time. Unfortunately it was my burden to present as much evidence as I could. A lot of the evidence was lost and destroyed by the police department. That’s not fair. That’s not just. We do everything we can to leave no stone unturned. It’s the failure to the government to preserve evidence. It is unfair to Mr. Mills and his family, and unfair to my client.
The jury made the decision based on what evidence they had. We believe it was an incorrect decision based on the absence of evidence that should have been preserved by police.”
Also according to the appeal ruling:
“One of the Defendant‟s friends testified that the Defendant was “a good man” and that he had never known the Defendant “to be violent in any way.” The Defendant also introduced over fifty letters from family and friends attesting to his good character.”