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Sullivan deputies investigate fatal shooting and fatal stabbing

CLIFFORD JEFFERY • Feb 17, 2007 at 11:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE - The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office is investigating two deaths, one a shooting and the other a stabbing, that occurred within 12 hours of each other.

Sheriff's investigators were called Friday evening to 211 Spurgeon Lane, where a 40-year-old man had been shot in the head with a shotgun.

Craig Way, 40, of 229 Spurgeon Lane, had come to his parents' home at about 10:30 p.m. and was arguing with his younger brother, John Way, also of 211 Spurgeon Lane.

John Way, 28, got a shotgun, and the two men were grappling for it when the gun went off in Craig Way's face, said Sheriff Wayne Anderson.

John Way was initially detained by police but was released Friday night with no charges pending.

Craig Way's body was sent to the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, where an autopsy will be performed.

Two women and several toddlers were in the home at the time of the shooting, but Anderson said police have not determined if any of them saw the shooting.

Anderson said charges may be filed after officers meet with the district attorney.

Anderson also released details Saturday of an early-morning stabbing that left an unidentified man dead in a ravine off Route 421 between Bristol and Johnson County.

At about 10 a.m. Saturday Chris Britt of Elizabethton called the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office to report that his brother had told him that he had stabbed a man the night before.

Britt's brother, Casey Joseph Britt, 33, 1413 Charity Hill Road, Elizabethton, met officers along Route 421.

Casey Britt told officers he had met a man at a Johnson City restaurant. The man had needed a ride and Britt offered to take him, Anderson said. He told police that he drove the man around Elizabethton and then up into Sullivan County.

They started arguing and Britt allegedly backed the truck into a pull-off on a road off Route 421. Britt told police he pulled out a knife and stabbed the man in the head and shoulders, according to Anderson. The man then got out of the truck and took off his coat.

"That is what (Britt) told us," Anderson said.

Officers found the body of a man at the bottom of a ravine near where Britt said he had pulled off and left his passenger.

The man's coat was found near him. Officers also recovered a knife with a 4-inch blade. There was blood on the knife and on the seat of Britt's truck, Anderson said.

Britt had told police that both men had been drinking that night, but by Saturday it was too late to test Britt's blood-alcohol level, Anderson said.

The identification of a Georgia man was also found. Anderson said they believe the ID belongs to the dead man, but they have not had confirmation yet.

Britt will be held at Sullivan County Jail, Anderson said. The district attorney will make any formal charges against Britt, Anderson said.

With two deaths reported on the same day, Anderson said his investigators have been busy.

"This is the first time in eight years that we've had two homicides within 12 hours of each other," he said.

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