Taking a look back at Charles Severance during 1996 Alexandria m - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Taking a look back at Charles Severance during 1996 Alexandria mayoral run

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Charles Severance at a 1996 Alexandria mayoral debate appearance (Image courtesy: Alexandria League of Women Voters) Charles Severance at a 1996 Alexandria mayoral debate appearance (Image courtesy: Alexandria League of Women Voters)
Charles Severance in a Wheeling, W.Va. courtroom on March 17, 2014 Charles Severance in a Wheeling, W.Va. courtroom on March 17, 2014
WASHINGTON -

The man who may be linked to three high-profile unsolved murder over the past decade in Alexandria will be back in court on Wednesday.

Charles Severance is being held in a West Virginia jail without bond on an unrelated gun charge.

We’re taking a deeper look at Severance 18 years ago when he ran for Alexandria mayor.

Whether talking with neighbors who have encountered Severance or to people who knew him in Alexandria’s political circles, we typically hear the same thing: he's kind of an odd guy and hard to figure out.

Wearing dark sunglasses for part of his Alexandria mayoral debate appearance, Severance's physical appearance back in 1996 is a far cry from his current bearded appearance.

The 53-year-old was arrested at a public library in Wheeling, W.Va., last week on an unrelated felony gun charge and was ordered held without bond during his extradition hearing Monday.

The prosecutor said Severance may be linked to the murders of Ruthanne Lodato, Ronald Kirby and Nancy Dunning, but he hasn't been charged.

As the investigation continues, we're starting to get a window into Severance's political past.

“I never thought he was dangerous,” said Katy Cannady of the Alexandria League of Women Voters. “He seemed fairly harmless. He would switch over into Spanish every few minutes.”

Her chapter of the Alexandria League of Women Voters hosted the 1996 mayoral debate Severance participated in as an independent candidate.

In broken Spanish, he mentioned God at one point. And in English, he ranted about mental health issues.

Severance was never considered a serious candidate when he ran in 1996 and again in 2000.

“Well, we all felt so happy and relieved when it was over and congratulating our poor moderator for keeping a straight face through all of that,” said Cannady.

Severance refused a request from a studio photographer during that 1996 debate to take off his sunglasses, but he eventually did.

Severance has a bond hearing Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

The prosecutor says he will ask that Severance continue to be held without bond, calling him a danger and a flight risk.


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