After coming from a George Jones Tribute concert on a Friday night in Nashville last year, ‘outlaw country’ music performer Wayne Mills headed over to the Pit & Barrel, a popular downtown Nashville music spot run by his friend Chris Ferrell, who shot him in the back of the head, and is claiming self-defense.
For over fifteen years, Mills, 44, had toured with his band and performed in the Nashville area as one of the hottest bands in the college circuit.
During Mills’ career, country music’s Entertainer of the Year Blake Shelton, 2006 American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, and country singer Jamey Johnson each opened for him as they were seeking stardom. Mills had just finished a tour with Johnson within his last couple of weeks.
At the Pit & Barrel in the early morning hours of November 23, Mills had posed with the bar owner Ferrell, also 44, and other folks for a photo. Less than an hour later, just before 5:00 a.m., Mills was shot in the back of the head by Ferrell, who is charged with second-degree murder. Mills died at a hospital over 12 hours later.
An autopsy report released at a discovery hearing last week confirmed the gunshot wound as well as scrapes, bruises, and broken ribs.
Ferrell, a sinister-looking character with a concealed-carry permit, claims he shot Mills in self-defense after an argument over Mills smoking in a no-smoking area of the club. His attorney claims he is not guilty. Ferrell is free on a $150,000 bond, and a status hearing is scheduled for February 6, but no trial date has been set.
At a pretrial hearing in a Jacksonville court today, 45-year-old Michael Dunn – who killed Jordan Davis, 17, at a Florida gas station last year – appeared in shackles wearing an orange jump suit as Judge Russell Healey acted on three defense motions that impact the upcoming trial.
The defense wanted to let the trial jury next year visit the gas station; to only let Jordan Davis’ parents or witnesses inside the courtroom when they testify; and to keep any Davis memorabilia out of court during the trial.
Judge Healy, due to “logistical concerns” for the safety of the jury, denied the motion by Dunn’s defense team, led by attorney Cory Strolla, to allow the jury to visit the scene of the crime, and denied a defense motion to only allow Davis’ family in court while they testify. However, he granted a motion that supporters not be allowed to wear Jordan Davis t-shirts, bracelets, ribbons or memorabilia in court.
The judge ruled that Davis’ family members would indeed be allowed at all times inside the courtroom that holds 100 people, yet they will not be allowed to show any emotion during the trial.
After the hearing Lucia Mcbath, Davis’ mother, told FirstCoastNews, “We want to do what’s best for the trial. We want to do what’s best for Jordan and we want to do what’s best for justice, so we will abide by those things.” The teenager was gunned down on November 23 last year after an argument with Dunn over loud rap music booming from an SUV.
Dunn has been in jail since he was arrested the next day, and faces charges on first degree murder and three counts of attempted murder. His next court appearance is January 13, 2014. The trial, expected to last two weeks, is scheduled to start February 3.
I don’t let a weekend go by without finding some fresh, motivating gospel music to listen to. With the help of a feel-good Sunday morning sermon, high-spirited gospel music helps revive a weary soul destined to spend a new week navigating our doomed society and working hard to pay bills.
As reported a few weeks ago, Rapper T-Dogg produced a new hip-hop gospel song featuring Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother. I liked it so much I bought it, And with every potential hit comes a music video, this one released last week for the surprisingly well-done “Joy Comes In The Morning” track, which came out in August.
Travis Gammage, better known as T-Dogg, out of Deerfield Park, Florida, is rapping and hip-hopping his way to stardom on a different level from most mainstream fast-talkers. He’s gospel rap’s rising star and the mastermind behind the song.
According to reports T-Dogg was inspired after watching Sybrina Fulton interviews in the media, and has said he wanted to “step outside of [himself] and see what she would be feeling”.
Now, to be clear, Sybrina doesn’t actually sing on the song, but gives the intro, and then the outro:
“No matter what you do, always know God is in control. You must always stay encouraged and hold your head high. I am glad to know that my angel Trayvon is watching over me and a peace of my heart is in heaven.”
The track has a simple time-worn message, meant for those who have lost loved ones to senseless violence: praising a supreme being even through the hard times brings hope for the new day.
With Florida as the first target, the monthly nationwide boycott of all SYG states is set to take place again tomorrow – Thursday, September 26, and on October 13th and 26th. You are urged not to plan any visits or vacations to Florida on these dates.
Like the Koch Brothers (think Angel Soft, Brawny, Quilted Northern) companies, many Florida corporations are tied to ALEC. The Boycott Stand Your Ground States website lists Tropicana, Publix Supermarket, Southern Wine & Spirits, Office Depot, Royal Carribean, Carnival, DHL Express, and Nascar among Florida corporations as companies you should avoid.
For more information on this boycott, visit Boycott Stand Your Ground States website.
The Movement To End Stand Your Ground is not the organizer of this boycott, but wholeheartedly encouraging, endorsing, and supporting all SYG boycotts in stand-your-ground states. Related articles
The grieving father said he believes the “victim should have a say, and stand-your-ground does not give the victim a say”. He talks about his son Jordan, the incident, and the accused shooter, Dunn, who he depicted as a bitter “coward”.
Davis, who states he is firmly against the SYG law, said that, like most people, he “didn’t even know about the stand-your-ground statute until Trayvon Martin‘s death”. He emphasized that he is not against guns and lawful gun owners but wants to make sure irresponsible gun owners cannot hide behind stand-your-ground.
America, are you ready? The latest recording artist to emerge onto the music scene is none other than Sybrina Fulton.
Some people may say Sybrina’s got a new hustle, call it cheesy, or say she’s looking for a cash cow, and it certainly may appear distasteful. But Trayvon Martin would probably be proud of his mom for doing something many 17 year-olds may only dream of – releasing a new hip-hop single.
Produced with gospel rap artist T-Dogg, the gospel/hip-hop single called “Joy Comes In The Morning” is surprisingly well-done, but carries an opening intro and a closing epilogue that maybe could have been omitted.
Yet a soothing blend of precision instrumentals, moving lyrics, and crystal-clear vocals which seem to channel Beyonce could almost make one forget that this may be a mother capitalizing on the death of a son.
Tempted by a sample, I liked it so much I bought it, but didn’t care much for the epilogue. That may be because of her use of the word “angel” instead of “my baby” or “my child” to describe Trayvon (since I was no angel myself at 17 years old – but maybe the wings come later).
What do you think? Is the recording a bad idea, or good therapy for her? Is it distasteful, or good gospel?
Ever wonder what some folks in Canada think about our stand your ground laws? Chris the Canadian linked us up with this down-home, real-talk (check out the lyrics), rockabilly, bluesy, straight-up, whack, gotta-see-it tune: