Judge orders Severance back to Va.; appeal likely

Charles Severance arrives in an Ohio County courtroom Wednesday to fight extradition to Virginia. He faces a gun violation in Loudoun County. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

WHEELING, W.Va. – A West Virginia judge has ruled to extradite to Virginia a local man wanted for questioning in connection with three high-profile homicides in Alexandria.

Ohio County Judge James Mazzone handed down his decision to Charles Severance in a Wheeling courtroom about lunchtime Wednesday. Severance faces a gun violation in Loudoun County.

Mazzone gave Severance’s defense team a week to file an appeal with the West Virginia Supreme Court. However the team will likely seek an extension and the appeals process could ultimately take months.

In the meantime, Severance will remain jailed in West Virginia.

If not for the expected appeal, Severance would have headed back to Loudoun County Wednesday afternoon.

During testimony before the judge’s ruling, defense attorney Shane Welling refuted the weapons charge, saying it was all in an effort to detain Severance so that Alexandria detectives could know where he is and be able to question him.

He called the charge a sham and the proceedings a “parody.”

Prosecutor Scott Smith told the judge there is no conspiracy in two law enforcement agencies working together and asked the court to follow the Virginia governor’s warrant and extradite Severance.

Alexandria police have not named Severance a suspect in the killings of Nancy Dunning, Ron Kirby and Ruthanne Lodato but have continued to look into Severance in connection with the unsolved crimes, which date back a decade.

Severance was arrested on the outstanding warrant at a Wheeling library in March.

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