UPDATE: The charge against an Athens teen has been downgraded and the case sent to a McMinn County Jail.
A judge agreed to lower the charge against 19-year-old Triston Stephens from second-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter. The judge also lowered Stephens’ bond from $50,000 to $30,000.
A McMinn County grand jury will hear the care on July 19th and determine if the case moves on to criminal court.
PREVIOUS STORY: A McMinn County man was killed in a fight and a 19-year-old is charged in his murder. Authorities say several people were involved in the fight at a home in Athens on County Road 208 Wednesday night. Sheriff Joe Guy said Ricky Charles, 52, was dead when police arrived. They later arrested 19-year-old Triston Stephens for second degree murder.
Sheriff Guy said the man who died was in a relationship with the 19-yr-old's mother, and before the shooting happened, witnesses say Stephen's mother and Ricky Charles got into a fight. Somehow during that fight, the Sheriff says Stephens brought out a gun.
"Evidentally Mr. Stevens introduced a firearm into the argument and that's when Mr. Charles was shot," Sheriff Guy said.
When police were called to the home on County Road 208, Stephens wasn't there. But hours later, he turned himself in for questioning at the Sheriff's Office, and that's when he was arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder.
"You never want to see a young person be in a situation like that, make a bad decision like that, and end up in a situation like this," Sheriff Guy said.
Neighbors believe the recent high school graduate was defending his mother from domestic violence.
"His mother and Ricky were having a physical altercation....who wouldn't defend their mother in that situation?" Neighbor Travis Hamilton said, "I would."
Hamilton says police have been called to the home several times within the past six months to break up other fights between Triston's mom and boyfriend. The Sheriff checked his records and says some calls were for theft, others for violence.
"We looked back I think we've been out there about four times according to what my detectives told me," Sheriff said.
While the motive behind the shooting is still unclear, neighbors in this close-knit community say they're grieving the loss of a friend.
"The Charles family they lost a loved one, they're going to have to bury a loved one," Hamilton said, "There's a lot of people affected by this, it's just a sad day."
The Sheriff says several guns were taken from the home when they were processing the crime scene, and they believe Charles was shot with a rifle. Stephens is now at the McMinn county jail booked on a $50,000 bond.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Sheriff said a McMinn County man was shot and killed during a fight in Athens.
McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy says the victim, 52-year-old Ricky J. Charles, died after a fight outside of a home on County Road 208 near Athens.
Officials say Angie Branham is the owner of the home that she shared with Charles.
Deputies responded to reports of a shooting around 6 p.m. Wednesday, and the victim was pronounced dead on arrival.
Officials say it became clear that several people had been involved in the fight, and someone had shot Charles.
Officials say officers began following leads on the location of the missing suspects.
After some time, the suspects turned themselves in to the Justice Center for questioning.
After further investigation, 19-year-old Tristan Stephens was charged with 2nd Degree Murder and booked into the McMinn County Jail under a $50,000 bond.
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