Severance moves to Arlington

Severance moves to Arlington

By Derrick Perkins (File Photo)

Charles Severance is no longer in Alexandria.

Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne transferred the accused murderer to Arlington on Friday, citing the possible appearance of a conflict of interest. Severance is charged with the slayings of prominent Alexandrians Nancy Dunning, Ronald Kirby and Ruthanne Lodato, two of whom had connections to the local legal system.

Although best remembered for her community work in Del Ray, Dunning — murdered in her home in 2003 — was married to then-Sheriff Jim Dunning. Lodato, largely recalled as a beloved local music teacher, was the sister of Robert Giammittorio, a retired judge. She was shot on her doorstep earlier this year.

“[Lawhorne] has the utmost confidence in his staff to handle the incarceration of  [Severance], as they have previously demonstrated their ability to remain professional regardless of the charges an inmate may be facing,” said office spokeswoman Amy Bertsch, who cited Zacarias Moussaoui’s four-year stint in the city’s jail as an example. “There were no issues during Severance’s time at the Alexandria jail. However, [Lawhorne] wants to eliminate any possible appearance of a conflict and therefore requested that the Arlington Sheriff house Severance.”

Severance, a failed mayor candidate, was being held in Loudoun County on a weapons charge when the investigation into the string of high-profile murders honed in on him. County officials transferred him to Alexandria earlier this month.

The state Supreme Court recently appointed a Fairfax County judge to oversee Severance’s trial. Alexandria’s judges recused themselves based upon their relationship with Lodato’s brother.