Man charged with murder, assault in Appalachian Trail stabbings

James Jordan, 30, was charged with murder and assault fro a stabbing on the Appalachian Trail that left a man dead and a woman injured. Photo courtesy Famartin/Wikimedia Commons

May 15 (UPI) — A Massachusetts man faces federal murder and assault charges in connection with a stabbing along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia that left one man dead and a woman injured.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia issued a statement Sunday, announcing 30-year-old James Jordan, of West Yarmouth, Mass., was charged with one count of murder and one count of assault with the intent to murder in connection to the stabbing over the weekend.

The Attorney’s Office said the investigation into the incident is ongoing and Jordan made his first court appearance Monday.

An affidavit in the case stated that Jordan allegedly approached a group of four hikers on a section of the trail in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in Smyth County, Va., on Friday night.

“He was acting disturbed and unstable and was playing the guitar and singing,” the affidavit said.

After the group set up camp, Jordan allegedly spoke to them again and threatened to pour gasoline on their tents to burn them to death.

The hikers then scrambled away from the campsite when Jordan pulled out a knife and chased two of them, but they escaped.

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Jordan then returned to the campsite where he engaged in an argument with a male camper and stabbed him to death before chasing a female camper who watched the stabbing, the affidavit said. Jordan caught up with the woman and began stabbing her as she raised her arms in surrender.

The woman fell to the ground and played dead until Jordan left the scene to “find his dog,” according to the affidavit, and was found by two hikers who took her to call 911. Details of her condition weren’t immediately released, but authorities said she would likely survive.

Authorities interviewed the woman and the two other hikers, who all identified Jordan as the attacker.

After Jordan’s arrest, the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department revealed he had previously been arrested for threatening another group of hikers in Tennessee in April and was charged with criminal impersonation, possession of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was given probation and ordered to pay fines after a hearing.

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