New charges, trial date set for accused Appalachian Trail murderer


ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – Two weeks after a magistrate judge ruled him competent, the man accused of killing an Appalachian Trail hiker pleaded not guilty and his jury trial is scheduled to begin in January.

Federal grand jury indictments filed on June 22 show that Jordan is facing five total charges:

  • Count One: Jordan “Willfully, deliberately, maliciously, and with premeditation and malice aforethought, did unlawfully kill Ronald Sanchez.
  • County Two: Jordan “attempted to commit murder… of Victim KM.
  • Count Three: Jordan “did assault victim KM with intent to commit murder by stabbing her multiple times with a knife.
  • Count Four: Jordan “did assault victim GH with a dangerous weapon, namely, a knife, with intent to do bodily harm.
  • Count Five: Jordan “did assault victim JH with a dangerous weapon, namely, a knife, with intent to do bodily harm.”

According to court documents, James Jordan pleaded not guilty to all charges placed against him during an arraignment on June 25.

Court documents report that on Thursday, Jordan appeared for a court hearing via video conference, where Magistrate Judge Pamela Meade Sargent ruled that Jordan will stand trial in U.S. District Court from Jan. 25 to Feb. 5, 2021.

Jordan is accused of murdering Ronald Sanchez, Jr., 43, Oklahoma, in May 2019 and injuring another female hiker on the Appalachian Trail. Jordan’s case halted as he underwent a psychiatric evaluation ordered by Sargent.

Sargent ruled Jordan competent earlier in June and scheduled two hearings – a probable cause hearing and a detention hearing. According to documents, those two hearings were canceled the day before they were scheduled to take place.

Jordan will appear on Jan. 7 at 1:30 p.m. for a final pretrial conference.

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