Accused Serial Killer Charles Severance May be Hospitalized for Mental Evaluation

Accused serial killer Charles Severance may be hospitalized in order to get a more extensive evaluation of his mental competency.

Alexandria prosecutors will ask a judge to order the evaluation Thursday.

In December, an agitated Charles Severance displayed a rude gesture in the courtroom just after the judge ordered that he undergo a mental competency exam. His attorneys have told the court their client may not be able to understand the three murder charges against him.

Severance is charged with the shooting deaths of three well-known Alexandria residents: Nancy Dunning more than a decade ago; Ron Kirby in November 2013, and Ruthanne Lodato in February.

The competency report is due to be revealed at a hearing Thursday morning, but in court documents filed Wednesday, the prosecutor asked that Severance be hospitalized so an adequate competency evaluation can be done.

The prosecutor reports the doctor doing the evaluation was not able to tell whether Severance understands the charges against him because he refused to be interviewed. The mental competency exam recently conducted was done while Severance was in the Arlington County jail.

The forensic psychologist who tried to assess Severance writes that he has "obvious intellectual capacity and excellent working vocabulary."


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Prosecutors argue just because Severance won't cooperate doesn't mean he should be found mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Severance's defense attorneys are also asking for more money to pay for two private investigators who are assisting with research in the case. They are asking for up to another $10,000 for 100 hours of work.

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