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WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) - A public defender in West Virginia says a northern Virginia man sought for questioning in three slayings is being held illegally.

Wheeling police arrested Charles Severance on March 13 on a warrant related to a firearms charge in Virginia's Loudoun County.

Police in Alexandria, Va., have said they want to talk to Severance about three unsolved killings. He has not been charged in the slayings.

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register says Severance's public defender, Shayne Welling, contends in a court filing his client is being held in West Virginia under a bogus warrant. He says the warrant from Loudoun County is a pretense to get Severance back to Virginia for questioning in Alexandria.

Welling asked a judge to direct Virginia authorities to appear before the court.

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