Judge rejects gag order in Severance case in Va. - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Judge rejects gag order in Severance case in Va.

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A Loudoun County judge has denied a motion to issue a gag order in the firearms case against Charles Severance.

The defense requested the order in hopes of keeping prosecutors and investigators from talking to reporters about Severance and the ongoing murder investigation in Alexandria.

The judge told the court she saw no need.

The attorney representing Severance filed the motion for a gag order with the argument that Severance could not get a fair trial in Loudoun County if prosecutors and investigators continued talking to reporters about the case.

But during the Thursday hearing, the judge said prosecutors and sheriff's investigators are bound by a code of professional responsibility and she thought that was enough to keep them in line.

Severance has been locked up in Loudoun County since May 6 after being extradited from Wheeling, W.Va.

The 53-year-old is facing charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The Loudoun County charge claims Severance took possession of two .22-caliber firearms purchased for him by his girlfriend. Under the law, he is precluded from possessing firearms after being convicted of a gun charge in 2005.

Although Alexandria police have not called Severance a suspect, the mayor of Alexandria has called him a person of interest in the murders of Nancy Dunning, Ron Kirby and Ruthanne Lodato.

Severance is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in the gun case next week in Loudoun County. On Friday, he will have a bond review.

As to the argument for keeping Severance locked up, this is what the commonwealth’s attorney had to say about it back in early May.

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

Severance appeared in court Thursday via closed circuit television and he will do the same Friday when his bond review is held at 1 p.m.

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