James Jordan, of Massachusetts, has been charged with murder for allegedly attacking two people — a man and a woman — with a machete on the Appalachian trail, killing the man in the process while severely injuring the woman, according to NBC News.
The 30-year-old Jordan is also facing one count of assault with the intent to murder for his attack on the woman. Since the stabbing occurred on federal land in the southwestern corner of Virginia, Jordan has been investigated by the FBI, with the agency and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia releasing a joint statement about the Saturday morning incident.
Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan refused to share the identities of the victims, but reiterated that Jordan has a troublesome past. He reportedly likes to hike the Appalachian Trail under the moniker “Sovereign,” and in April, he was arrested for threatening hikers on the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee. He pleaded guilty to the crime and was subsequently sentenced to probation.
U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen condemned the “senseless and brutal attack” by Jordan, and praised the efforts of local law enforcement for bringing Jordan to justice.
“I commend local law enforcement in Wythe and Smyth Counties for mobilizing successful rescue and tactical operations in this remote region. Thanks to their efforts, the suspect was safely apprehended and a seriously wounded victim received critical medical care.”
A hiker tells The Daily Beast that weeks before James Jordan allegedly knifed someone to death, he threatened to burn down a trail shelter. “He was ranting, and raving.” https://t.co/KGbvmtIGVc
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) May 12, 2019
The report suggested that the victims knew each other and were on the trail together when they were attacked by Jordan early on Saturday morning. Officials who responded to the crime used GPS to find the man in Wythe County after he sent out an emergency notification on his cellphone.
The woman who was allegedly attacked by Jordan reportedly walked a distance of six miles before she found help. All this time, she was bleeding as a result of the brutal attack.
Brian King, a spokesman for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, said that Jordan is “well-known” for being on the 2,190-mile-long Appalachian Trail and was brought to the attention of authorities in April when he pleaded guilty to threatening other trekkers on the trail.
Larry Smith, a hiker from Charleston, South Carolina, told The Daily Beast that he ran into Jordan while on the trail back in April, claiming that he was threatening to burn the shelter down where he was stationed at the time.
“He was ranting and raving. At that time, I thought he was just another hiker who’d gotten drunk, or one of the locals who’d gotten a little drunk,” Smith said.