Alexandria police: Building case against Charles Severance

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- Alexandria police say they are building a case against Charles Severance, the person of interest in three murders. Severance has not been charged in the murders, however is behind bars in Loudoun County facing a minor weapons charge.

Police Chief Earl Cool says there is evidence that is unique to Severance, though he would not discuss specifics.

Ballestic tests found that the same gun might have been used to kill Nancy Dunning in 2003, Ron Kirby in November, and Ruthanne Lodato in February. All three were shot just inside their front doors with a small caliber weapon, sources say it was a 22-caliber weapon.

Chief said the murder weapon or weapons have not been found, and he wants the public to know that in case anyone comes across a gun.

Severance remains behind bars in Loudoun County, charged with illegally possessing weapons as a felon. Those weapons are two 22-caliber guns that were purchased by Severance's girlfriend, Linda Robra, with whom Severance used to live in her Ashburn townhouse. The Washington Post reported Robra testified in court Wednesday that she could not recall the last time she saw the guns.

The caretaker for Ruthanne Lodato's elderly mother saw the gunman and gave the description that resulted in a sketch of a bearded white man. That witness and her testimony may be critical to the case.

Chief Cook would not say if the witness was asked to view a photo-line up that included Severance, but he hinted measures have been taken to collect all kinds of evidence.

In the Lodato's quiet neighborhood, police maintain a strong presence.

A daughter of Lodato's, home from college, told WUSA9 Thursday that the family is hopeful an arrest would come soon in the "senseless killing" of her mother.

The chief was asked if he's worried about a lawsuit if it turns out Severance did not do it. Cook said, no, and that they'll have plenty of solid evidence before they charge Severance and call him a suspect.

Written by Peggy Fox


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