Severance arraigned in Loudoun County on gun charge - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Severance arraigned in Loudoun County on gun charge

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Charles Severance (Loudoun County Police) Charles Severance (Loudoun County Police)
LEESBURG, Va. -

The man considered a possible suspect in three high-profile murders in Alexandria made his first court appearance in the commonwealth on Tuesday.

It was a brief court appearance for Charles Severance, who spent nearly two months fighting extradition from West Virginia. In fact, he never left the Loudoun County jail.

Right now, he is only charged with being a felony possession of a gun. But his legal odyssey in Virginia is only just beginning.

The 53-year-old appeared before a judge via closed circuit television Tuesday morning. He has been ordered back to court on June 18.

Severance was just extradited from Wheeling, W.Va., where he was arrested in March.

One elected official in Alexandria called Severance a suspect in three unsolved murders in the city over the past ten years. But Alexandria police officially won't even call him a person of interest in the shooting deaths of Ruthanne Lodato in February, Ron Kirby last November and Nancy Dunning in December 2003.

Jim Plowman, the Commonwealth's Attorney for Loudoun County, says the jail door is open to Alexandria police detectives.

"If they want to go speak with him, they don't have to ask me,” he says. “They have their investigation. We have ours. We work together with Alexandria in this and many other cases.”

Alexandria police have said all three unsolved murders appear to be linked. The same small handgun was likely used in all three daytime killings. The victims were each shot inside their front doors.

The composite sketch released by police of an older bearded man seen running from the Lodato murder scene closely resembles Severance.

We asked Plowman if they would have any interest in pursuing this charge against Severance if he was not potentially considered a murder suspect in Alexandria.

“We pursue charges like this all the time,” says Plowman.

Severance is being held without bond. Plowman calls that appropriate in this case.

"Future dangerousness, flight, prior criminal history -- there's a whole list of things that a judge should consider when they're considering whether bond is appropriate,” he says. “One of them I think would be that it was pretty difficult getting him back here. It took us 55 days to get him back here into Loudoun County."

Severance is being represented by an attorney who works for the commonwealth of Virginia, but who normally represents clients facing the death penalty.

He would not talk to us after the arraignment, but instead scolded a reporter from another television station who he accused of hounding Severance's elderly parents after a court hearing in West Virginia.


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