Va. Gov. Signs Order to Bring Charles Severance Back to Va.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed an extradition order to return Charles Severance to Virginia, where he faces a weapons charge in Loudoun County. Meanwhile, federal and state agents are probing whether he is linked to three high-profile murders in Alexandria.

Severance was arrested in Wheeling, W.Va., last week on a fugitive warrant for a charge of owning a firearm as a felon, although his lawyer said authorities did not find a weapon on his person or property at the time of arrest.

Severance has said he does not want to be extradited back to Virginia, and his lawyer has said he is indigent and that the bail amount of $100,000 is excessive based on the charge. He is being held at the Northern Regional Jail in West Virginia.

Public defender Shayne Welling had written in a motion that a West Virginia prosecutor is keeping Severance behind bars "in order to buy the Commonwealth time to investigate other matters."

"While abusing authority may be appropriate in the commonwealth, West Virginia does not sanction the abuse of police powers," Welling said.

A West Virginia judge had denied Welling's request to modify bond for Severance, which stands at $100,000, reported WTOV9's Crissy Clutter.

Federal agents reportedly are investigating whether Severance may be connected to the shooting deaths of three prominent Alexandria community members over the past decade: music teacher Ruthanne Lodato, transportation official Ron Kirby, and Nancy Dunning, wife of then-Alexandria Sheriff Jim Dunning.

Lodato was fatally shot when she opened her door Feb. 6 and a gunman opened fire, striking both her and her mother's caregiver. The caregiver survived and gave a description of the suspect to police, forming the basis for a widely distributed sketch.

During a hearing Monday, prosecutors showed an image of Severance taken the week before his arrest, visiting the Russian Embassy to ask for asylum. They introduced into evidence a video still of Severance, clad in a poncho and tri-corner hat, leaving the embassy with passport in hand.

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