Judge Denies Gag Order Motion in Charles Severance Gun Case | NBC4 Washington

Judge Denies Gag Order Motion in Charles Severance Gun Case

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    Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver reports on a judge denying a gag order request in the Charles Severance case. (Published Thursday, June 12, 2014)

    A judge denied a gag order in the Loudoun County case of a man who is wanted for questioning in the shooting deaths of three Alexandria residents.

    Charles Severance is in jail awaiting trial in Loudoun County on a firearms charge, but his case is attracting attention because Alexandria Police believe he could be linked to the murders of Realtor Nancy Dunning in 2003, regional transportation planner Ron Kirby in November 2013 and music teacher Ruthanne Lodato in February 2014.

    Severance has not been charged in those shootings, and police have not named him a suspect.

    His lawyer, Edward Ungvarsky, sought to bar lawyers in the case from talking to the media. He argued that the "intense and pervasive media attention" is doing damage, according to court documents. He cited a "swirl of public accusations" against Severance, and he's worried that when it comes to finding jurors to decide on the felony gun charge, the news would "poison the potential jury pool."

    The judge will rule on a bond hearing Friday. It's possible the defense will push for Severance to be let out of jail as he awaits trial.

    A preliminary hearing is scheduled for next week.

    Severance has been in custody since March 13, when he was arrested at the county library in Wheeling, W.Va. Police from several Northern Virginia agencies and the FBI had been tracking him.

    He was extradited to Virginia last month. In fighting Severance's extradition, his defense attorney unsuccessfully argued that the gun charge against Severance was a "sham" and that authorities were holding Severance to allow them time to build a murder case against him. A West Virginia prosecutor said that Severance was a fugitive, and the Loudoun County gun charge was legitimate.

    If convicted on the gun charge, Severance could spend up to five years in prison.

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