There is massive speculation in Alexandria, Virginia, that police have made a huge break in a triple-murder investigation, reports NBC Washington. But cops are adamant that they have not charged Charles S. Severance, who was taken into custody with the help of the FBI on March 13, with any connection to the murders of three high-profile people — music teacher Ruthane Lodato in February 2014, politician Ron Kirby in November 2013 and Nancy Dunning in 2003.
Police in Virginia announced last week that they felt the killings of Lodato and Kirby recently, as well as the murder of Nancy Dunning in 2003, were related. The bullets used in the attacks are all similar, according to forensics.
In a blog posting, Severance referes to himself as a “God-fearing, highly respected, and solid citizen of Virginia.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Mayor of Alexandria Has Named Him as a Suspect
Contrary to reports, NO arrest made in any homicide cases. APD is looking at all possibilities, but cannot confirm connection to our crimes.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) March 14, 2014
Severance was arrested in Wheeling, West Virginia, reports WUSA-9, by a multi-agency force. He was picked up at the Ohio County Library. According to police documents obtained by NBC Washington, he’s being held on a weapons charge that has no relation to the Alexandria killings and his bond has been set at $100,000. The warrant for his arrest came from Louden County, Virginia.
According to WUSA-9, cops went to Severance’s home in Ashburn, Virginia, on March 12, but found he had left town. Wheeling Police Chief Sean Schwertfeger alerted cops in Alexandria that he believed Severance was in his town. When Severance was arrested, he was using a computer in the library.
Where police found Charles Severance.. in this library in Wheeling, WV. Severance possibly tied to Alexandria murders pic.twitter.com/AeiZcqPTV1
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) March 14, 2014
Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille has told Fox 5, that Severance’s arrest is connected to three unsolved murders in the city.
2. Severance Had Political Aspirations
He ran for Mayor of Alexandria twice, the first time in 1996, and again in 2000. Severance was an independent candidate. Also in 1996, he ran as an independent for the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia 8th district. According to his own website, he finished second in the 1996 mayoral race with 10% of the gun-owners vote. A Washington Post report from 1996, says that during a political forum, Severance picked up the American flag and ran out the front door with it.
Former Alexandria mayor Kerry Donley, told WNEW, that he had to be shadowed by undercover cops when he ran against Severance.
3. He Lost Custody of His Son in 2000
According to the website, Mentaldisorder.com, in March 2000, Severance was court ordered to have no contact with his then 10-month old son, Levite Severance. On the site, there is a tirade against the forces that Severance says took his son from him. The site reads:
He also adamantly refuses to submit to a complete “inexact” mental health evaluation by secular (demon possessed) humanist-priests, democracy government regulated mad-doctors, agents of psychiatry, and other weak hypocrites.
He goes on to criticize doctors who medicate children saying, “Infant, child, and adolescent psychiatrists who prescribe RITALIN and other psychotropic drugs to precocious youth.” During the rant, Severance says that he has committed no crimes and in July 2002 had three legal guns seized from him and adds:
America is a land of democracy, psychiatry, and freedom, and all irreverent government agents of psychiatry will recieve freedom – the freedom to fall by sword, famine, and plague.
Neighbors near Charles Severance's parents home in Oakton VA say the family didn't talk much about him. pic.twitter.com/yugBOczBIU
— Tom Fitzgerald (@FitzFox5DC) March 14, 2014
His political opponent, Kerry Donley, told WTOP’s Megan Cloherty, that Severance was “odd” and had “narrow focus on juvenile mental health and psychotropic drugs.”
4. Ruthanne Lodato Was Killed at Her Front Door
On February 6, popular music teacher Ruthanne Lodato, 59, was fatally shot after she answered the door of her home on Ridge Road Drive in Hampton, Virginia. It was her mother’s caregiver, who was also injured in the attack, who was able to provide police sketch artists with a description of the attacker.
5. He Was Found Guilty of Carrying a Concealed Weapon in 2004
In 2004, Severance received a 12-month suspended sentence on a concealed weapons charge. The charge came in Rockingham County, Virginia, but at the time Severance was listed as living in Cumberland, Maryland, reports WUSA 9.
According to the Mental Disorder site, Severance was a student at George Mason University in 1982. He was a physics student and made the Dean’s List. The blog posting finishes with the line:
You can’t keep a good man down.