Prosecutors Call Charles Severance a Flight Risk; Severance Ordered Held Without Bond

Charles Severance, 53, ordered held without bond

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A man arrested in West Virginia is now linked to three murders in Alexandria, Va. News4's Mark Segraves reports on Monday's extradition hearing for 53-year-old Charles Severance and the evidence authorities say they have against him.

    The man linked to the investigation of three high-profile murders that have rocked Alexandria, Va., will remain in a West Virginia jail for a while longer. Meanwhile, West Virginia prosecutors said they've been unable to locate his two guns.

    Charles Severance, 53, appeared before a West Virginia Circuit Court judge Monday morning to fight his extradition back to Virginia.

    However, his public defender told his client not to answer any questions -- not even what his name is.

    Severance, 53, was arrested Thursday at a Wheeling, W.Va., public library, on a warrant on a weapons charge out of Loudoun County. Federal agents are investigating whether he may be connected to the deaths of three prominent Alexandria community members over the past decade.

    Family Reacts to the Charles Severance Connection

    [DC] Is the End of a 10-Year Murder Ordeal Near? Family Reacts to the Charles Severance Connection
    Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey gets reaction on the arrest of Charles Severance in connection with the Alexandria murders.

    In court Monday, the judge ordered him held without bond after prosecutors argued that Severance is a flight risk, showing an image of Severance visiting the Russian Embassy to ask for asylum.

    They introduced into evidence a video still of Severance, oddly clad in a poncho and tri-corner hat, leaving the embassy with passport in hand March 7.

    A police department report obtained by the News4 I-Team shows Severance was "sent away" from the embassy, labeled an "unwanted guest."

    Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is expected to request a warrant for Severance to be returned to the commonwealth, but that could take up to 60 days.

    Severance Appears in Court

    [DC] Severance Appears in Court
    Severance Appears in Court

    In the meantime, Severance being held in Northern Regional Jail in West Virginia and has a bond hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

    Several sources said last week that investigators are questioning whether Severance -- who ran for mayor in Alexandria twice -- has any connection to the slayings of music teacher Ruthanne Lodato last month; local transportation official Ron Kirby in November, and Nancy Dunning, wife of then-Alexandria Sheriff Jim Dunning, in December 2003.

    "It's premature to call Mr. Severance a suspect at this time," said Crystal Nosal, public information officer for the Alexandria Police Department, on Friday.

    Police Investigating if Man Is Linked to Va. Murders

    [DC] Police Investigating if Man Is Linked to Va. Murders
    Police and federal agents are investigating a man in custody in West Virginia to see if Charles Severance has a link to three high-profile murders in Alexandria over the last 10 years. News4's Shomari Stone, Darcy Spencer and Mark Segraves have the latest details in the case.

    Nosal said Severance came to their attention through a crime tip. Police raided his home in Ashburn, Va., last Wednesday night, neighbors said. The following morning, the FBI contacted Wheeling police.

    Severance had checked into a hotel there under his own name, but was not at the hotel. Wheeling police searching the town found him in the library, where they took him into custody.

    Federal agents searched Severance's hotel room and car and confiscated the hard drive of the computer he had been using at the library.

    Man Linked to Investigation into High-Profile Va. Murders

    [DC] Man Linked to Investigation into High-Profile Va. Murders
    Police and federal agents are investigating whether a man in custody in West Virginia has any tie to three high-profile murders in Alexandria, Va. Charles S. Severance was known in the community, including for two bizarre runs for Alexandria mayor. News4 has team coverage with Mark Segraves, Julie Carey and Scott MacFarlane reporting.

    Families of the victims were hesitant to comment on the arrest Friday night, but they do want to know what happened to their loved ones.

    "Right now I am just grieving Ron's death," Anne Haynes, the widow of Rob Kirby, told News4's Darcy Spencer.

    "It would be important to know what happened, because I don't know what happened. All I know is that he's gone, he's dead, and he's not coming back," she said.

    Neighbors Describe Severance's Odd Behavior, a Police Raid

    [DC] Neighbors Describe Severance's Odd Behavior, a Police Raid
    Neighbors said Charles Severance had been known to light bonfires on his patio and rearrange rocks in the front yard of his Ashburn townhome. On Wednesday, federal agents raided Severance's home for seven hours. News4's Pat Collins reports.

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