Severance Linked To Murders


Senior Staff Writer

ALEXANDRIA, VA.-The Alexandria, Va., Police Department on Wednesday named Charles Severance as its primary suspect in the murders of three people.

“The Alexandria Police Department continues to actively investigate the Ruthanne Lodato, Ron Kirby and Nancy Dunning homicide cases,” a department media release said. “No arrests have been made relating to these crimes, however, the department has narrowed the scope of these investigations to Charles Severance as its primary focus.”

The release said Severance, 53, came to the department’s attention through a tip shortly before his arrest in Wheeling on March 13 at the Ohio County Public Library as a fugitive out of Loudoun County, Va.

He had been wanted on a firearms charge.

Ohio County Chief Public Defender Shane Welling fought vigorously to have Severances’s extradition back to Virginia denied, but the battle ended on April 29 when the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals denied the extradition appeal.

During the course of the investigation, Alexandria detectives followed up on 1,000 tips, including investigating any connection Severance may have with the murders.

Real estate agent Dunning was gunned down in 2003, transportation official Kirby was shot and killed last November, and piano teacher Lodato also was shot and killed a few months later in February. According to police, all were killed near their front doors.