A West Virginia judge decided Wednesday morning to extradite Charles Severance, who is wanted on a warrant for a gun violation in Loudoun County but stayed his order so that defense attorneys can file an appeal.
Police want to question Severance as they continue their investigation into three unsolved homicides in Alexandria.
Ohio County, W. Va. judge James Mazzone handed down his decision shortly before noon Wednesday, The Washington Post reported.
Mazzone, in Wheeling, W.Va., decided that an unrelated gun possession charge in Loudoun County was enough to order that Severance be returned to Virginia, the newspaper reported, but he immediately granted the defense a seven-day appeal to allow attorneys to seek an even longer stay from the state’s supreme court.
The longer stay would allow time for the defense to prepare an appeal, before Severance is returned to Virginia. Mazzone said Virginia officials had the case to allow Severance to be extradited.
“Mr. Severance has failed to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the court should grant his application seeking a writ of habeas corpus,” Mazzone said. He said the evidence showed that the warrant was valid, that there was reason to believe the crime occurred and that Loudoun County intended to prosecute the crime.
Alexandria Police officials have not said Severance is a suspect in the three homicides – of Nancy Dunning, Ronald Kirby and Ruthanne Lodato – but they are looking for possible connections. He has been called a "person of interest."
Severance was arrested in March at the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling, W. Va., on a warrant for a weapons offense in Loudoun County.
Severance, 53, is a former Alexandria mayoral candidate, who came to the attention of investigators through tips regarding the February slaying of Lodato, the 2003 killing of real estate agent Nancy Dunning and the November 2013 slaying of regional transportation planner Ron Kirby.