Nelsonville Bar Owner Killer Pleads Guilty

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A Nelsonville man who shot and killed a local bar owner was sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison on Thursday.

Taylor Allen Mills
Taylor Allen Mills

Taylor Allen Mills, 23, entered a change of plea in front of Athens County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Lang, pleading guilty to felony charges of involuntary manslaughter, carrying a concealed weapon, illegal possession of a firearm in liquor permit premises and tampering with evidence. Most of the charges had a specification for forfeiture of the weapon, according to the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office.

He was arrested in December 2015 after shooting Mine Tavern owner Tim Koker at the bar on the Public Square in Nelsonville, according to previous WOUB reporting.

Mills was at The Mine late on Dec. 22, and reportedly caused a disturbance before being asked to leave. He came back to the bar and was again asked to leave after throwing an object at the window.

After Koker asked Mills to leave again, shots were fired.

Nelsonville police responded, along with the Athens County Sheriff’s Office, at about 11:30 p.m. and found a male subject, later identified as Koker, who appeared to be suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Police attempted CPR and emergency personnel responded, but Koker was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Mills is accused of fleeing the scene and barricading himself in a residence on Harper Street. The Athens County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Response Team was deployed and were able to subdue Mills without injury.

Mills also entered guilty pleas in a separate case on Thursday, to charges of conspiracy and discharge of a firearm.

Lang sentenced Mills to 27 years and six months in prison, and as part of the plea agreement, Mills can’t file for early release until he has served 22 years of his sentence.

“The state of Ohio and victim representatives will oppose all requests for early release for the full 27 years and six months term,” the prosecutor’s office said in a release.

The Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, the Buchtel Police Department and the Ohio State Highway Patrol assisted on the night of the shooting.