Yarmouth man arrested on murder charge in stabbing on Appalachian Trail – Cape Cod Times
ABINGTON, VIRGINIA — A West Yarmouth man is being charged in a stabbing along the Appalachian Trail in Wythe County, Virginia, that left one person dead and another with severe injuries, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia.
James Jordan, 30, was arrested Saturday morning on a federal complaint and is being charged with one count of murder within the special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States, and one count of assault with intent to murder within the special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States, the statement says.
Officials with the FBI’s Richmond Division announced the arrest and charges Sunday.
“I commend local law enforcement in Wythe and Smyth Counties for mobilizing successful rescue and tactical operations in this remote region,” U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen said in a statement. “Thanks to their efforts, the suspect was safely apprehended and a seriously wounded victim received critical medical care.”
Cullen said officials “will continue to work with … state and local partners to bring the perpetrator of this senseless and brutal attack to justice.”
The federal charges against Jordan will be filed in the U.S. District Court in Abingdon on Monday, and he is expected to appear in court that same day, the statement said.
Further details were not immediately available Sunday from federal officials, but the investigation is ongoing, the statement said.
Completed in 1937, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail — a public footpath stretching 2,190 miles from Georgia to Maine — is managed by the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers.
Jordan was known within the trail hiking community as “Sovereign,” Brian King, a spokesperson for the conservancy, said.
“It’s trail culture — 99 percent of (hikers) have trail names,” King said. “They’re sort of like online avatars. A lot of times hikers can go … months hiking and never know their friends’ real names.”
Several hikers began broadcasting complaints using social media and the trail’s incident reporting system about someone who had threatened them with an ax, King said. Jordan also had a dog with him, he said.
Jordan was arrested late April in connection with those complaints, though King said he didn’t physically assault anyone “that we know of.”
“But it was scary that they felt they had to report it,” he said.
Jordan previously admitted sufficient facts to indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and two counts of assault and battery and vandalism on June 7 and 8, 2013, in Barnstable District Court, for an incident in Barnstable.
According to Twitter posts from the conservancy beginning Saturday, the U.S. Forest Service was investigating an incident on the trail between Mt. Rogers and Ceres, Virginia, and that the trail had been closed down for that stretch. The trail closure was lifted Sunday, according to the Twitter posts.
The National Park Service is the lead agency investigating the matter, according to Corrine Geller, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police Department.
Between 3- and 4-million people hike the trail, or parts of it, every year, according to King. Including Saturday’s killing, there have been 10 fatalities resulting from eight homicide incidents on the trail, he said.
King stressed that the trail is very safe.
“There’s normally safety in numbers, which is a good part of hiking the trail,” he said.
— Follow Tanner Stening on Twitter: @tsteningCCT.