Severance ran for Alexandria mayor in 1996, 2000 - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Severance ran for Alexandria mayor in 1996, 2000

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. -

53-year-old Charles Severance ran for mayor of Alexandria back in 1996. Former mayor Kerry Donley won that race and says Severance was an odd bird.

"He was a campaign of one,” Donley said. “Whenever asked about an issue, whether it be a community issue or a neighborhood issue, he would launch into a diatribe about childhood mental health and the prescription of psychotropic drugs. It was bizarre each time he ran against me.”

Donley says authorities at the time considered Severance a potential danger.

"The city manager and the police chief at the time were concerned about Charles Severance and had, without my knowledge, asked an undercover cop to shadow me during the campaign,” he said. “And I didn't know about it at the time. I was told after the campaign."

Severance has a website which contains pictures of him, anger at Alexandria's court system for cutting him off from contact with his infant son and has references to mental health evaluators as demon-possessed.

"He seemed fairly harmless, but would switch over in [speaking] Spanish every few minutes," said Katy Cannady of the Alexandria League of Women Voters.

Cannady's chapter hosted the 1996 mayoral debate Severance participated in as an independent candidate.

"He would go off on this rant about doctors who forced people to take medicine that wasn't good for you,' said Cannady.

Alexandria police have said the murders of music teacher Ruthanne Lodato last month, transportation official Ron Kirby last November and Del Ray real estate agent Nancy Dunning ten years ago are possibly linked. All three were shot to death inside their homes in the middle of the day.

The composite sketch released by police of the suspect in the Lodato murder appears to be very similar to the appearance of Severance.

"I can't say it wouldn't surprise me, and hopefully the police through their questioning and further investigation may find a link that will tie him to it," current Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille.

FOX 5 spoke to Kirby's widow, Anne Gray Haynes, on Friday afternoon. Did he know Severance?

"No, Ron only dealt with elected officials and he did talk about the elected officials," she said. "He never mentioned this guy's name. We didn't know him."

Haynes also said Severance "doesn't look familiar to me at all. He looks a little like Santa Claus ... But he looks like the picture. I can grant you that."


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