Charles S. Severance, 53, a former Alexandria mayoral candidate, was ordered held without bond today by an Ohio County, West Virginia, Circuit Court judge after an extradition hearing. Severance was arrested in Wheeling on Thursday, March 13, on a Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon warrant from Loudoun County. He is fighting extradition.
Ohio County Prosecutor Scott Smith told the judge today that the FBI and Alexandria police wish to talk to Severance in connection with three unsolved Alexandria murders: Nancy Dunning in December, 2003; Ron Kirby in November, 2013; and Ruthanne Lodato in February, 2014. Smith told the judge that Severance is a danger to the community and a flight risk. To prove his point, he showed a picture of Severance outside the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, where he was seeking political asylum on March 12. Smith also told the judge that they are still searching for weapons believed to have been in Severance’s possession.
Severance, on the advice of his court-appointed public defender, did not speak in court today. The judge agreed with Smith’s arguments and ordered Severance held without bond pending a bond hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
Since Severance is fighting extradition to Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe is likely to request an extradition warrant, which could take up to 60 days.
Although sources in West Virginia confirmed the presence of FBI agents and Alexandria police, the Alexandria Police Department released the following statement on Friday: “Contrary to recent news reports, the Alexandria Police Department has NOT made any arrest regarding the Lodato, Kirby and Dunning homicides. The Police Department is following up and exploring all possibilities, just as we do with every tip we receive. At this time, we cannot confirm a connection to any homicide or crime. The Police Department encourages residents to continue to be aware of their personal safety and report information in these cases to the tip line at 703.746.6864 or email@example.com.”
Severance ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Alexandria in 1996 and 2000, and for Virginia’s 8th District Congressional seat against Jim Moran in 1996. He was ordered by an Alexandria court to have no contact with his young son in March, 2000, and has written a blog railing against Alexandria court and other officials and mental health professionals.