Federal judge rules accused A.T. murderer competent; case moves forward

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ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – The case is now moving forward against the man accused of fatally stabbing a man and injuring a female hiker on the Appalachian Trail in Southwest Virginia.

James Jordan appeared in federal court in Abingdon Thursday morning.

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.

According to the arrest warrant, he was 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.

Thursday morning, Magistrate Judge Pamela Meade Sargent ruled that Jordan is competent enough for the case to proceed.

When asked, Jordan indicated that he understood the charges against him.

In October 2019, Jordan was taken to a mental health unit at FMC-Butner for treatment. Judge Sargent said that Jordan is taking medication that was prescribed to him at Butner.

A probable cause and detention hearing has been scheduled for June 25 at 10:30 a.m. in Abingdon. Jordan is scheduled to appear in person but he could petition for the hearing to occur via video call.

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