Prosecutor argues for extradition of Charles Severance

A felony gun charge is a legitimate reason to extradite a man who has been called a “person of interest” in three Alexandria homicides from West Virginia to Loudoun County, a prosecutor there argued in a court filing Friday.

A governor’s warrant and an affidavit from the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Loudoun is “sufficient” to extradite Charles Severance, Ohio County Prosecutor Scott R. Smith wrote.

Severance, 53, is being held on a fugitive from justice charge in Wheeling, W.V.

Defense attorney Shayne M. Welling argued in a filing Monday that the gun charge is a “sham” pretext to question Severance about the February slaying of music teacher Ruthanne Lodato, the November shooting of regional transportation planner Ronald Kirby and the 2003 killing of real estate agent Nancy Dunning.

Severance has not been charged in connection with the killings.

The “homicide investigations could have continued even if Mr. Severance had not been arrested as a fugitive on the Felon in Possession charge,” Smith wrote in response. Moreover, he said, the debate over Severance’s role in the murder probe is irrelevant, because the case meets the standards for extradition.

A warrant for the Loudoun charge says that Severance’s girlfriend told investigators she purchased two .22-caliber guns for her boyfriend, a convicted felon.

Alexandria police have said repeatedly that Severance is part of their investigation but not a suspect in the killings.

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Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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