An Appalachian Trail sign in North Carolina. Credit: Courtesy of Collin Popper

ABINGDON, Virginia — A Massachusetts man pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on Thursday in the death of an Appalachian Trail hiker and attacking another hiker with a hunting knife two years ago, authorities said.

James Jordan of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, was accused of the fatal stabbing of Ronald Sanchez Jr., 43, of Oklahoma City and wounding a female hiker in Virginia in May 2019, WDBJ reported.

Jordan will be committed indefinitely to a psychiatric facility within the Bureau of Prisons. Jordan waived his right to trial by jury and an additional evaluation. Judge James Jones accepted the plea at the federal courthouse in Abingdon.

Jordan has a history of mental illness and was originally found incompetent to stand trial until a judge reversed that ruling.

Jordan offered a brief, prepared apology in court. His attorney added that his client was “deeply remorseful for the profound sorrow he has caused. He regrets that his lifelong battle with mental illness ultimately resulted in this trauma and loss for innocent hikers and their families.”