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Suspect Charged in Appalachian Trail Stabbing

A hike on the Appalachian Trail took a tragic turn this weekend when a group of four were allegedly attacked by a knife-wielding man. By the time authorities captured the suspect, one hiker was dead and another seriously injured.

The area in which the attack occurred. Roanoke Times graphic.

According to the Roanoke Times, the group of four hikers encountered the suspect, James L. Jordan, while on the Trail in Wythe County, VA. They recognized him from social media posts stemming from an April incident in Tennessee in which Jordan allegedly threatened other hikers. He had been arrested on misdemeanor charges, but was released on probation when the allegedly-threatened hikers refused to testify. 

After encountering Jordan, the group of four continued hiking and later made camp. Jordan had apparently followed them, and “began randomly approaching the hikers’ tents, making noises and threatening the hikers,” according to a statement made by FBI Special Agent Micah Childers. The hikers began to pack up and attempted to leave, at which point Jordan approached them with a large knife. 

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Two of the hikers ran. The other two, a man and woman, remained at their campsite. Jordan then allegedly stabbed the man to death, at which point the woman ran. Jordan followed, caught up, and stabbed her several times. She played dead, and Jordan left the scene. She then ran along the trail until she encountered a pair of hikers who assisted her. 

Police, alerted by 911 calls from both the pair who ran and the female victim, captured Jordan at the crime scene the following morning. He has been charged with murder and assault with intent to murder, but will undergo a competency evaluation and sanity evaluation before his trial begins.

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