Severance extradition hearing Wednesday

WEST VIRGINIA (WUSA9) -- Charles Severance has been locked up in a West Virginia Jail since he was arrested at a Wheeling public library a month ago.

He is a person of interest in three unsolved, mysterious murders in Alexandria; Nancy Dunning a decade ago, Ron Kirby in November and Ruthanne Lodato in February. But Severance has not been charged with any of those killings.

He is only charged in Loudoun County where he lives, with illegally possessing two .22 caliber guns that his girlfriend told police she bought for him. He is not allowed to possess guns because he is a felon, convicted on a 2005 gun charge.

With a warrant from the Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney, and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, West Virginia Prosecutor Scott Smith will argue for Severance's extradition to Virginia as he did in a previous extradition hearing.

Smith said Severance tried to seek asylum at the Russian Embassy and showed the court surveillance photos of Severance holding his passport at the Embassy.

But Severance's Public Defender Shayne Welling says the extradition process is being abused. In his court filing, Welling says Severance was "illegally detained by West Virginia Authorities," calling the conduct "illegal, unconscionable, unforgivable". Welling says in his filing that "West Virginia must avoid colluding with the Commonwealth on such an obvious sham arrest."

Police have searched two ponds, one near Severance's residence in Ashburn and the other near Severance's parents' home in Oakton, Virginia. Court documents do not mention whether or not any weapon was found.

In the Loudoun County complaint against Severance, Detective Stephen Schochet says Severance's girlfriend, Ms. Linda Robra, told him that Mr. Severance left their residence on March 10, 2014 with the firearms.

Twenty-two caliber guns are very common. It is believed a .22 caliber gun was used in all three Alexandria killings, and police say the same gun may have been used.


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