Suspect Going Back To Virginia

WHEELING – Charles Severance’s battle to remain in West Virginia ended Tuesday when the state Supreme Court of Appeals denied his stay of extradition.

The high court issued an opinion to refuse Severance’s application for a stay submitted by public defender Keith Hart.

The order affirms a decision made last week by Circuit Judge James Mazzone, who ordered Severance be extradited back to Virginia to face a felon in possession of a firearm charge – and then granted a stay of extradition to give Chief Public Defender Shayne Welling time to file an appeal with the state Supreme Court of Appeals.

After receiving notice of the Supreme Court order Tuesday, Mazzone notified Prosecutor Scott Smith’s office to contact Virginia authorities and arrange for them to return to Wheeling to get Severance.

Had the court accepted Welling’s appeal, Severance could have remained in West Virginia for several months during the appeal process.

Police arrested Severance on March 13 at the Ohio County Public Library as a fugitive out of Loudoun County, Va., wanted on the firearms charge.

Welling has continued to argue that Severance was not a fugitive from justice and that his arrest in Wheeling was sham and a pretext to get Severance into police custody so Alexandria, Va., authorities could further their case against him in three murders.

Smith held that the defense did not meet its burden to show cause to deny the extradition.