James L. Jordan

James L. Jordan, accused of murder and other assault charges related to attacks on the Appalachian Trail, will be put on trial in January 2021, according to court documents.

ABINGDON, Va. — A jury trial for the man accused of killing an Appalachian Trail hiker in Southwest Virginia last year will start next January, a federal magistrate judge ruled Thursday.

James L. Jordan, 31, is scheduled to stand trial in U.S. District Court in Abingdon on Jan. 25 to Feb. 5, 2021, according to court filings.

A recently filed grand jury indictment also shows that Jordan faces new charges.

Jordan, of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, was arrested in May 2019 and initially charged with murdering Ronald S. Sanchez Jr., 43, of Oklahoma and stabbing a Canadian woman near the Wythe and Smyth county line.

His case was put on pause, however, while he underwent mental health treatment at a federal facility in North Carolina. Earlier this month, Magistrate Judge Pamela Sargent found Jordan competent to stand trial.

On Monday, a grand jury charged Jordan with one count of murder in Sanchez’s death, as well as one count of attempted murder and one count assault with intent to commit murder in the stabbing of the woman, according to an indictment filed with the court. The grand jury also indicted Jordan on two counts of assault for two other victims, only identified by their initials in the filing.

The assaults are listed as taking place May 10, 2019, which was the same day as the other reported attacks, according to court papers.

The woman has previously said that Jordan approached a campsite she shared with Sanchez and two other people on the day of the attacks. She said that Jordan went into the woods and the group decided to pack up, but he later returned and attacked her and Sanchez before they were able to leave.

At an arraignment Thursday, Jordan appeared via video before Judge Sargent and pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to court filings.

Jordan’s defense counsel did not seek pretrial release, so he will remain in the custody of authorities, a detention order issued Thursday states.

The final pretrial conference for Jordan’s case is scheduled for Jan. 7, according to Sargent’s order setting the trial date.

The Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority lists Jordan as an inmate at its Abingdon facility.

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tdodson@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2567 | Twitter: @Tim_Dodson

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