Court documents: Accused Appalachian Trail killer to use ‘defense of insanity’

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ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – James Jordan, the man accused of fatally stabbing an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker to death and injuring another, plans to use a ‘defense of insanity’ as the reason he committed the crimes.

Jordan is accused of killing Ronald Sanchez, Jr., 43, of Oklahoma, and injuring a female hiker on the trail in Wythe County on May 11, 2019.

He is charged with murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States and assault with intent to commit to murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

According to federal court documents filed September 21, 2020, Jordan notified “the Government and this Court of his intent to assert a defense of insanity at the time of the alleged offense.”

Further filings request that “any evaluation of the Defendant’s mental state at the time of the offense… be conducted in the least restrictive manner possible…” His attorneys also ask that any further evaluations be done locally with Jordan remaining in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail at Abingdon, instead of transferring him into federal custody.

The defense requested  that Jordan remain at the regional jail because “the COVID-19 pandemic counsels strongly in favor of avoiding unnecessary prisoner movement, particularly into the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).”

Jordan is scheduled to stand trial on January 25, 2021.

You can read the full court documents below.

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