UPDATE: AT Hiker Pleads Guilty after Reports of Threats on the Trail
UPDATE: (8:35 a.m. ET April 26) The Appalachian Trail hiker accused of threatening other hikers on the trail has pleaded guilty to several charges after being arrested on the trail in Georgia on Monday, WJHL TV reported.
The TV station said James Jordan, 30, of Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in court Thursday in Erwin, TN, to criminal impersonation, possession of a Schedule VI drug (which includes marijuana), and public intoxication. He was fined and put on probation, WJHL said.
On the AT, Jordan was known as Sovereign.
UPDATE: ( 8:15 a.m. ET April 23) A man who reportedly threatened other hikers on the Appalachian Trail has been arrested, WVLT in Knoxville, TN, has reported, citing Unicoi County Sheriff Michael Hensley.
The report adds to a confusing story that emerged Monday, when Hensley posted on Facebook that authorities were seeking a hiker who reportedly had threatened other hikers and who had brandished a machete and a knife.
Later in the day Hensley posted on Facebook that the hiker had been located and authorities determined that he made no criminal threats.
Now multiple TV stations are reporting that the hiker, who goes by the name Sovereign, faces assault charges based on a confrontation on Rector Laurel Road in Tennessee, near the North Carolina border.
The TV stations reported that Sovereign is being held in the Unicoi County jail.
He was reportedly in possession of a Schedule VI drug (which includes marijuana) along with a 20-inch knife, and caused a disturbance near Sams Gap while under the influence of an intoxicant, the TV stations reported, citing the sheriff.
UPDATE (6:41 p.m. ET April 22): Local authorities have contacted the hiker and have determined that he made no criminal threats, and consequently has not been charged with a crime.
The item thought to be a machete was actually his guitar.
A man who apparently threatened hikers on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina on Sunday, April 21, is being sought by the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff Michael Hensley said in a Facebook post that the hiker, a white male, calls himself Sovereign and had threatened other hikers at Devils Fork Gap and also in Madison County. He is believed to be heading toward Sams Gap on the Tennessee-North Carolina border.
WCYB News 5 said hikers told police that the man threatened them with a shovel at the JeriCabin Shelter on Sunday.
The man was last seen about 5:30 p.m. Sunday entering the AT from Rector Laurel Road in Tennessee, near the North Carolina border, Hensley said. He has a pit bull with him.
Hensley said the man, a white male, is carrying a knife and machete, which he brandished at hikers.
The sheriff’s Department and the US Forest Service have received calls about the man.
Hensley said authorities searched near Rector Laurel Road and Pete Creek on Sunday but did not find the hiker. They are continuing to search the AT for the man.
Hensley asks people to call 911 if they see the hiker.
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