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Judge: Prosecutors Can Show Jurors Severance's Writings

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    Judge: Prosecutors Can Show Jurors Severance's Writings
    Washington Post
    ALEXANDRIA, VA - JANUARY 22: Charles Severance, left, suspect in three murders in the Alexandria area, talks with a member of his defense team as he is led out of court after a competency hearing on January, 22, 2015 in Alexandria, VA. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

    Prosecutors will be allowed to show jurors writings that advocate murder as a means of fomenting unrest by a man accused of killing three Alexandria residents over roughly a 10-year span.

    Charles Severance of Ashburn is charged with shooting and killing three people in their homes in separate incidents in 2003, 2013 and 2014.

    Prosecutors say Severance, a former Alexandria resident, was angry that he lost custody of his son and sought to lash out at what he perceived as the city's ruling class.

    Music teacher Ruthanne Lodato was shot to death as she answered a knock at her door Feb. 6, 2014. Ron Kirby, director of the department of transportation planning for the Council of Governments, was shot and killed Nov. 10, 2013. Nancy Dunning, the wife of a former Alexandria sheriff, was killed in 2003.

    His court-appointed lawyers wanted the judge to bar prosecutors from introducing Severance's writings into evidence. They said his rambling musings about murder and killing police officers would be unfairly prejudicial.

    But the judge agreed with prosecutors, who say the writings are relevant.

    Severance is charged with capital murder, although prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty.