Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / The Rhea County Justice Center is located just north of downtown Dayton on Rhea County Highway.

A Tennessee man is dead and another is being treated for multiple stab wounds after an apparent knife fight Thursday on Possum Trot Road in South Rhea County, according to authorities.

Thomas Simpson, who is reportedly in his 50s, was found dead in his backyard after authorities responded to a 911 call from a woman who had heard someone across the street calling for help, according to a Rhea County Sheriff's Office report filed by Deputy Stephen Huskey.

The other man has not been identified but is now listed in stable condition following surgery for his wounds, according to authorities. No one has been charged.

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"Both men had knives and each received multiple stab wounds, and the homeowner went out the back door, and the acquaintance went out the front door, and the homeowner wound up dying in the backyard, and the acquaintance made his way to a neighbor's home across the street," Rhea County Sheriff's Office investigator Rocky Potter said in the phone interview.

The surviving man was transported to a local hospital before being airlifted to the Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga, he said.

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Potter said the two men met a few days earlier, and the unnamed man is believed to have visited Simpson's home to work on a vehicle sometime Wednesday. The two men and several other people spent the night at the home, some apparently working on vehicles into the morning Thursday, he said.

"Sometime during the night or early morning they got into some kind of altercation," Potter said.

No one knows yet what happened that led to the exchange of knife wounds, he said.

Potter said both weapons apparently used in the fight were large, non-folding hunting-style knives. One of the knives was found in the backyard near Simpson and the other was found in the front yard.

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According to the incident report, the initial caller told the dispatcher a wounded man was in the front yard and she could hear Simpson but couldn't see him. The woman said the front door of Simpson's house was open, and a vehicle in the driveway was running with no one in it, the report states.

When deputies got to Simpson's house, they found him dead with blood inside the house all over the living room and a large amount of blood near the back door, according to the report.

The Possum Trot Road home was well known to the sheriff's office for complaints, Potter said. There had been calls about loud noise, too many people coming and going and other disturbances, Potter said.

Contact Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.