Charles Severance Speaks in Court as Defense Rests

As the defense rested its case Tuesday, accused serial killer Charles Severance got his chance to speak.

With all the evidence in, Judge Randy Bellows turned to Severance asking him if he was aware he had a right to speak in his own defense.

"A man witnessing against himself, that’s a 1791 idea," Severance replied.

He then launched into a history lesson about his view of the origins of the Fifth Amendment, which protects a person from being forced to testify against himself.

Severance eventually asked that all charges be dismissed. The judge asked one more time if he wished to testify, and Severance fell silent.

On Tuesday the defense again attacked video evidence introduced by the prosecution. Prosecutors say Target security camera video shows a man who looks like Severance following murder victim Nancy Dunning in the store as she shopped for gifts to donate. An hour after she left the store, she was shot to death at the front door of her home -- one of three prominent Alexandria residents Severance is accused of killing.

Video presented by the defense reveals Nancy Dunning actually entered the Target more than 45 minutes before Severance appears in the video.

Before Tuesday, the defense team insisted the man in the video was not Severance. They played the video for all of Severance's family and friends, and all testified it wasn't him.

The final defense witness was its private investigator, who read aloud dozens of Severance’s letters, journal entries and historical to show jurors he wrote about much more than violence and killing.

Closing arguments begin Wednesday.

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