Severance Being Investigated in Alexandria Murders

WHEELING – Police in Alexandria, Va., are investigating whether Charles Standard Severance, arrested Thursday by Wheeling police on an outstanding Virginia warrant for being a felon in possession of a firearm, has any link to three murders committed in that city over the past 10 years.

Alexandria spokesman Craig Fifer said Severance has not been charged with any crime in his city. He did confirm, though, that the city’s police department is looking into any possible connection between Severance and the three murders.

Earlier today, Alexandria Mayor William Euille termed Severance a “suspect” in the unsolved murders, two of which happened in the past four months and the other in 2003. Fifer clarified the mayor’s statement, noting he used “suspect” in more of a generic sense, and reiterated that Severance currently is not an official suspect.

The arrest Thursday came after Wheeling police, acting on a tip from the FBI, located Severance while at the Ohio County Public Library.

Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said his department received word from the FBI that Severance might be at the Knights Inn, formerly the Wheeling Inn, at 10th and Main streets in downtown Wheeling.

“We found his car there but he could not be located,” the chief said. “Our officers later found him at the Wheeling library.”

Ohio County Magistrate Joe Roxby set bond at $100,000 this morning during a video arraignment.

“I want a lawyer,” Severance told Roxby. “I want to stay here (in West Virginia). I want to fight extradition.”

Severance also told Roxby he was cold and asked if he could wear his street clothes from the Wheeling Police Department because jail clothing was not warm enough.

A criminal warrant out of Loudoun County, Va. said Severance is wanted as a felon in possession of a firearm.

Severance has ties to Alexandria, as published reports indicate he ran for mayor twice, in 1996 and 2000.