1 dead, another injured after Appalachian Trail assault


United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and David W. Archey, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division, announced today an arrest in a deadly stabbing incident that occurred along the Appalachian Trail in Wythe County, Virginia that left one person dead and another severely injured.

James L. Jordan 30, of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, was arrested in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 11, 2019 on a federal criminal complaint. Jordan is charged with one count of murder within the special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States and one count of assault with the intent to murder within the special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

“I commend local law enforcement in Wythe and Smyth Counties for mobilizing successful rescue and tactical operations in this remote region,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today.  “Thanks to their efforts, the suspect was safely apprehended and a seriously wounded victim received critical medical care.   We will continue to work with our state and local partners to bring the perpetrator of this senseless and brutal attack to justice.” 

Last month, Jordan was charged with threatening people on the AT in Unicoi County. 

Hiker suspect in assault on Appalachian Trail, sheriff says

Jordan was accused of threatening other hikers on the trail with an axe, according to police, and was sentenced in Unicoi County Sessions Court. 

Jordon, 30, of Massachusetts, received probation and ordered to pay fines following his hearing.

According to the clerk’s office, Jordon pleaded guilty to criminal impersonation, possession of a Schedule VI drug and public intoxication.

Jordon went by the name “Sovereign” while hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

This investigation is ongoing. The federal charges against Jordan will be officially filed in U.S. District Court in Abingdon Monday morning. The defendant will have an initial court appearance in federal court in Abingdon on Monday, May 13, 2019. 

A criminal complaint is only a charge and not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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