Published on May 12th, 2019 📆 | 4358 Views ⚑0
James Jordan Charged With Hacking Appalachian Trail Hiker to Death Weeks After Release From Jail
A man who calls himself “Sovereign” was charged with attacking two Appalachian Trail hikers with a machete, killing one of them—just weeks after he pleaded guilty to threatening other trekkers and was set free, authorities said on Sunday.
James L. Jordan, 30, from West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, allegedly knifed an unidentified man and woman early Saturday morning in an isolated stretch of the 2,190-mile hiking trail that runs through Wythe County, Virginia. The man died and the woman was seriously wounded.
The U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Virginia called it a “senseless and brutal attack” but did not provide any other details. A criminal complaint will be filed Monday as Jordan makes his initial court appearance.
He faces one count of murder within the special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States and count of assault with the intent to murder within the special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
Jordan has allegedly been menacing people on the trail, which is in the midst of its high season, for weeks.
On April 21, Unicoi County, Tennessee, Sheriff Mike Hensley wrote on Facebook that hikers should beware of Jordan, who “ran hikers out of shelters with a shovel” and “brandished a knife and machete and stated it was going to be a bad day for hikers.”
Several days later, he was arrested after an altercation with hikers on the Tennessee/North Carolina border; police found he was carrying a knife with a 20-inch blade. He reportedly pleaded guilty to several charges, sentenced to a fine and then released.
The Washington Post reported Jordan apparently resurfaced in Virginia and went after a group of four hikers camped out for the night. They fled, but the knife-wielding attacker caught up to two of them and began slashing away.
The woman “pretended to be dead and when [Jordan] walked away after his dog, she took off running,” Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan told the newspaper. She managed to walk six miles and get help.
Deputies in Bland County, Virginia, began looking for the assailant, Sheriff Thomas Roseberry II told The Daily Beast. But it was deputies in Wythe County, reportedly following an SOS signal activated by the male victim before he died, who found Jordan and the knife.
“I’m very appreciative that they acted as quick as they did, and apprehended him as quickly as they did, and that no one else was hurt,” Roseberry said.
The Appalachian Trail runs from Georgia to Maine, passing through 14 states, and an estimated 2 million people hike at least part of it each year.