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Athens Police: Man charged with murder after fight led to deadly machete attack

Police said a man died after being hit in the neck with a machete following an argument. The suspect told police the man "went crazy and he had to put him down."

ATHENS, Tenn. — A man is facing a second degree murder charge after Athens police said he attacked and killed a man with a machete.

According to the arrest report, the Athens Police Department responded to a homicide call at 1715 View Street. Police said they found the suspect, identified as James Ramey, with blood on his hands, face and feet when they first arrived.

Ramey told police there was a confrontation, saying the victim, identified as Steve McKheean, "went crazy and he had to put him down," according to the arrest report.

Police said they talked with a woman in the home, identified as Misty Schatz, who also had blood all over her when speaking to officers. Schatz told police McKheean and Ramey got into a fight, and said Ramey walked into his bedroom to grab a machete.

Police said Ramey then swung the machete at McKheean and hit him in his neck.

Police found McKheean's body in the kitchen with a pool of blood around him. Officers said they also found what appeared to be a bloody bladed weapon in the same room on a stool in front of the refrigerator.

When detectives spoke with Ramey, he told them he had been drinking and got into an argument. He said Schatz and McKheean had begun arguing in the living room and told them both to leave if they continued fighting.

Police said Ramey then told them he was hit in the head with a frying pan when he walked into the kitchen. Police said they found a laceration on the suspect's head with some blood. Ramey told police he though McKheean was going to kill him.

Schatz told police she saw the two men go into the kitchen, and said Ramey started becoming aggressive toward the victim -- saying she then saw McKheean push Ramey and heard a loud thud.

According to the arrest report, when she went into the kitchen, she told officers she saw McKheean lying in a pool of blood -- saying Ramey was about to stab him again with the knife, but she stopped him. She told officers she tried to stop the bleeding, but couldn't. 

EMS on the scene confirmed McKheean died from blood loss due to severe lacerations to his neck. 

Ramey is charged with second degree murder and he was being held in jail on a $100,000 bond as of September 25.

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