Casey Joseph Britt, 32, of 1413 Charity Hill Road, Elizabethton, is jailed on a $150,000 bond in the stabbing death of Richard Lee Shanklin, 31, of Fayetteville, Ga., on Feb. 17.
The men met at an Elizabethton restaurant that night and then went drinking together at a Johnson City bar, Sullivan County Sheriff's Office Detective Lt. Bobby Russell testified during the preliminary hearing Wednesday.
On the way home in the early morning hours, the men went through a drive-through for food. It was then that Britt told investigators Shanklin got angry that he had spent all his money and began attacking Britt.
The alleged fight inside the truck led Britt to grab a knife from his console and start stabbing at Shanklin to protect himself, he told detectives.
Britt drove to an area of the Cherokee National Forest off Highway 421 and pulled off the road.
Russell testified that Britt told them Shanklin got out of the truck and said, "Come on."
But Britt took off and said when he left, Shanklin was still standing on the side of the road.
In a subsequent statement, Britt told investigators that as he drove away he saw Shanklin step off the hill by the roadside.
During cross-examination by Public Defender Steve Wallace, Russell confirmed that none of the evidence found - including the knife and blood spatter found in Britt's truck and blood at the roadside scene - appeared disturbed in any way.
Wallace also asked Russell how investigators knew about the stabbing.
Russell agreed that authorities would not have initially known about the stabbing if Britt's brother had not called 911.
After hearing all the testimony, General Sessions Judge Klyne Lauderback bound the case to a Sullivan County grand jury.
Britt is slated for his first criminal court appearance April 27.