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Public Defender Says Charles Severance Being Held on 'Sham' Charges

An extradition hearing to Loudoun County is set for March 31.

Charles Stanard Severance, 53, of Ashburn. Photo courtesy of West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority
Charles Stanard Severance, 53, of Ashburn. Photo courtesy of West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority
The lawyer for Charles Stanard Severance, a man wanted for questioning in three high-profile Alexandria homicides said Wednesday afternoon his client is being held in a West Virginia jail on "sham" charges.

“Are we considering this a homicide case or is this a sham arrest?” Public Defender Shayne Welling said during a bond hearing Wednesday in Wheeling, W.Va., according to WTOV-9. “We have no information. Only a single document holding respondent.”

While being held on the Loudoun County warrant involving unrelated weapons charges, Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille has called Severance a “person of interest” in the Alexandria slayings.

Severance was being held at $100,000 bond, then without bond, and as of today (Wednesday), he's back to being held at a $100,000 bond.

Welling said Severance should only face extradition for the low-level Class Six felony, and the bond should reflect that, according to The Intelligencer, a Wheeling newspaper.

However, if the warrant is intended to allow investigation into other matters, the extradition must be dismissed as improper, the paper reported.

"While abusing authority may be appropriate in the Commonwealth, West Virginia does not sanction the abuse of police powers," Welling wrote, according to the newspaper. "The use of the arrest power as a sham to apprehend a person for purposes for further investigation on another charge is so dangerous an intrusion of privacy as to require exclusion of any evidence seized as an incident of such pre-textual arrest."

Severance "has a constitutional right to travel as anyone does,” the TV station reported Welling as saying. “He was held at Wheeling PD for an eight-hour window and he doesn't know why he was held. Was it in order to interrogate on a separate offense?”

He added that Severance is being held unlawfully and called it “improper.” “I believe there is a reason we seceded from Virginia, and I believed this is it,” Welling said.

Severance's bond was set back to $100,000. An extradition hearing is set for March 31. 

Severance is being held at the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville, W. Va., 12.5 miles south of Wheeling. His imprisonment status lists him as “pre-trial felon.” 

An extradition hearing is scheduled for March 31.

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Chad Rinker March 19, 2014 at 05:01 PM
Is this Public Defender a Third Grader???

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