Alleged AT Murderer to Stand Trial

A judge ruled today that James Jordan is mentally competent to stand trial.

This story has been updated with quotes from Dan Duncan.

A federal judge ruled today that James Jordan, who allegedly attacked two Appalachian Trail thru-hikers in Wythe County, VA thirteen months ago, is mentally competent to stand trial

Jordan has been charged with murder and assault with intent to commit murder after allegedly attacking hikers with a knife in May of 2019. Jordan is believed to have killed Ronald Sanchez, 43, an army veteran who was hiking the AT to heal from post-traumatic stress disorder following a 17-year military career. Jordan allegedly stabbed Sanchez to death near a campsite along the trail, as well as assaulted and stabbed another hiker, Kirby Morrill. Morrill survived the attack and suffered multiple stab wounds. 

In July of 2019, Judge Pamela Sargent ruled that Jordan was not mentally competent to stand trial. He spent the interim months in a federal rehabilitation facility intended to restore him to competency. 

For Sanchez’s family, today marks a step in the painful journey since his death. 

“I am thankful that they found him competent to stand trial,” said Dan Duncan, Sanchez’s father. “He has inflicted pain that you could not even imagine on my family.” 

Jordan is due back in court on June 25.