Unicoi Co. Sheriff: ‘I did everything I could to get him off the trail’

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said Tuesday afternoon he wishes hikers that were threatened in April by James Jordan would have pressed charges.

James Jordan is facing murder and attempted murder charges after he allegedly stabbed two hikers Saturday. 

One of the hikers, Ronald Sanchez Jr., 43, died. 

Hensley said it could have led to a different outcome.

“I just want the family of these victims to know that I did everything that I could to get him off the trail,” he said. “I knew he was a threat to other hikers and I did everything within the law to take him off the trail.”

In April, the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jordan and charged him with multiple drug offenses and criminal impersonation. 

Investigators said he also had a knife in his possession at the time.

Hensley said Jordan pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him, was put on probation and let go.

Hensley also said instances like these are very rare along the Appalachian Trail in Unicoi County. 

A judge has ordered Jordan to undergo a competency and sanity examination. 

It’s to be completed before August 1st. 

Trails Days Ministry Group will hold a candlelight vigil for Ronald Sanchez Jr. on Thursday night at Trail Days in Damascus.

We are told grief counselors will be on hand.

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