Severance back in Virginia


By Erich Wagner (File photo)

The man connected by West Virginia prosecutors and in media reports to three unsolved Alexandria homicides was extradited to Loudoun County last week.

Charles Severance, 53, unsuccessfully fought entering the custody of Virginia lawmen after he was arrested in Wheeling, W. Va., in March on a felony gun charge stemming from Loudoun.

Prosecutors in West Virginia described him as a “suspect” in the killings of Ruthanne Lodato in February, Ron Kirby in November and Nancy Dunning more than a decade ago, but local police insist he merely is under investigation.

“We are investigating any possible connections he may have to the case, but we’re not going to jump the gun and call someone a suspect until we have charges,” said Crystal Nosal, Alexandria Police Department spokeswoman. “It may come down to the semantics of language and labeling, but we want to make sure we do everything by the letter of the law.”

Severance was arraigned in Loudoun County District Court on May 6, and a judge scheduled a preliminary hearing on the gun charge for June 18. Capital defense attorney Ed Ungvarsky represented him at the hearing.

Nosal said that despite the suggestion by more than a few that Severance is connected to Alexandria’s unsolved homicides, police urged residents to remain mindful of strange activity in their neighborhoods.

“We always want people to be vigilant,” she said. “We’re never going to say: You should stop locking your doors or your windows or report suspicious activity. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a crime in our area for people to take that to heart and people get complacent.”