Judge: Probable cause Severance illegally had gun - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Judge: Probable cause Severance illegally had gun

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Charles Severance Charles Severance

A judge in Loudoun County has found probable cause that ex-convict Charles Severance committed a felony by possessing a gun. Severance will remain in custody, and the weapons case against him will be presented to a grand jury next month.

Based on Wednesday’s testimony, the 53-year-old man is clearly a suspect in a string of mysterious murders in Alexandria over an eleven-year period. No charges in those three cases have been filed against Severance.

Severance’s former girlfriend, with whom he lived in Ashburn, Va., for three years, was called to the stand. Linda Robra told the court that Severance talked her into buying two .22 caliber revolvers. Robra also testified that Severance handled one of the weapons to show her how to load the guns with bullets.

Robra said she never fired the small weapons. Yet an Alexandria police detective testified he found two .22 caliber shell casings in Robra’s garage. Robra said the small guns somehow disappeared at some point while she lived with Severance, while two .38 caliber weapons she owned were not taken.

An FBI agent told the court that an evidence team from her agency recovered a gun cleaning kit from Severance’s car in West Virginia. During arguments, Commonwealth’s Attorney James Plowman told the judge, “Someone who’s a convicted felon does not have a need for a gun cleaning kit.”

Defense attorney Edward Ungvarsky tried to undermine the ex-girlfriend’s credibility by pointing out that a half pound of marijuana was found in her bathroom. Prosecutor Plowman conceded that he has offered immunity on a marijuana charge, but told the judge that Robra was cooperating with investigators before the marijuana was discovered.

Severance never said a word during the three-hour hearing, and appeared to look straight ahead at the witnesses or the judge. At the end of the hearing, Charles Severance briefly smiled and nodded at an elderly couple who had been sitting quietly in the courtroom – presumably his parents.

District Judge Debra Welsh explained to Severance that, at this hearing, the state did not need to present evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and she determined that a felony was committed [the gun possession], and “you are the person who committed that felony.”

Prosecutor Plowman said he expects to present the gun possession case to a grand jury in mid-July. Defense attorney Ungvarsky was asked if Alexandria police have requested an interview with Severance. Ungvarsky, who previously (and unsuccessfully) asked for a gag order in the case, declined any comment.

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