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Man arrested in deadly Appalachian Trail machete attack not competent to stand trial, judge finds

Posted at 9:23 PM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 21:24:59-04

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. — A Massachusetts man facing a federal murder charge after he allegedly attacked two hikers on the Appalachian Trail, leaving one of them dead, has been found not competent to stand trial, according to WJHL.

After 30-year-old James Jordan underwent psychological evaluations, a federal judge ordered he be moved to a "federal medical facility in an attempt to restore him to competence," WJHL reported.

Prosecutors and Jordan's attorneys agreed that local evaluation was sufficient and did not request additional evaluations, WJHL reported.

Jordan,  of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, was charged with one count of murder and one count of assault with the intent to murder, the US Attorney's Office previously said in a statement.

Ronald S. Sanchez Jr., 43, of Oklahoma, died of injuries sustained during an alleged violent attack by Jordan.

Additionally, Jordan was also arrested in April in Tennessee for threatening other hikers with a knife, according to WCYB.

The station also reported the suspect was known as "Sovereign," his nickname on the trail.

Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan told CNN affiliate WSLS authorities were able to find the injured man using GPS technology after he sent an emergency notification on his phone.

"The phone company notified us and that's when we went up there and found the suspect and the victim," the sheriff said. "We had our whole (tactical) team out there, so (the suspect) wisely just surrendered himself."

The injured woman was found only after she had walked six miles while bleeding, Dunagan told WSLS, and found other hikers and asked for help.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.