Former Virginia political candidate faces 10 charges for three murders
An eccentric former Virginia political candidate was indicted on Monday in three killings that had sparked fears a serial killer could be loose in the Washington area.
A grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, charged Charles Severance with 10 counts, including murder and firearms charges, the commonwealth attorney’s office said in a statement.
The seemingly random killings in Alexandria, a Washington suburb, had aroused concerns about a possible serial killer.
“We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook told a news conference that was carried online.
Severance was indicted in the February slaying of music teacher Ruthanne Lodato, the November 2013 shooting of regional transportation planner Ronald Kirby and the 2003 killing of real estate agent Nancy Dunning.
Cook said no weapons had been found and only Severance was involved in the killings. Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille has called him a person of interest in the cases.
Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter does not intend to seek the death penalty and the maximum penalty is life in prison, his office said.
Severance lived in Alexandria in the 1990s and the early 2000s and ran for mayor and Congress as a fringe candidate. He sometimes wore a tricorn hat, was known for ranting in public and once threw a punch at the organizer of a mayoral debate.
Severance was arrested in West Virginia in March on an open Virginia gun possession charge and was extradited to Loudoun County, Virginia.
The Washington Post cited court records that said he had seen a psychiatrist and resisted taking an anti-psychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Peter Cooney and Jonathan Oatis)