The Slatest

Alleged Knife-Wielding Killer on the Appalachian Trail Is the Stuff of Literal Nightmares

View from the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park near Sperryville along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia August 25, 2013.
A view of Shenandoah National Park along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia on Aug. 25, 2013. Eva Hambach/Getty Images

A literal nightmare played out in real life over the weekend for a group of hikers on the Appalachian Trail when a man, acting erratically, allegedly began approaching hikers’ tents and threatening to douse them in gasoline and burn them to death. The group of four hikers encountered suspect 30-year-old James Jordan on Friday evening, when he was “acting disturbed and unstable, and was playing his guitar and singing” before things turned far darker.

After the man allegedly made the threats to burn them alive, the hikers tried to escape, but they say Jordan approached them wielding a 20-inch knife. Two of the hikers fled from the campsite as Jordan allegedly chased them, but they were able to escape and call 911 at 2:30 a.m. Jordan, however, is accused of returning to the campsite and attacking the two other hikers after an argument. He allegedly stabbed the male hiker in the upper body while the female hiker fled. The wounded man was able to send an SOS signal from his phone, but when help arrived he was already dead, according to court documents.

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Jordan, meanwhile, is said to have pursued the fleeing female hiker and was able to track her down after she tired. The hiker told police she “raised her arms as if to surrender” and Jordan stabbed her multiple times. The woman fell to the ground and played dead. When Jordan left her for dead, she was able get away and backtrack down the trail and find the two other surviving hikers who helped her walk six miles until they were able to call 911 at 3:12 a.m. When the authorities returned several hours later, Jordan was found sitting with blood on his clothes and was taken into custody without incident.

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