CRIME

Charles Severance held without bond in West Va.

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(WJLA) - During Monday’s hearing in Ohio County, West Virginia, the attorney for Charles Severance indicated that he will be fighting extradition back to Loudoun County on gun charges. However, the prosecution made it clear in court that Severance is being investigated for the unsolved murders in Alexandria.

Forensic psychiatrist discusses case

Fifty-three-year-old Severance entered court on Monday morning with his wrists in cuffs and ankles in shackles. He looked alert as he reviewed documents with his lawyer – even smiling a few times.

Defense attorney Shane Welling is stressing that Severance only faces weapons charges:

"And anything collateral to that should not be considered by this court."

But prosecutor Scott Smith is arguing that Severance should be held without bond:

"I do think he's dangerous, a danger to the public and a flight risk...He is being investigated by authorities in Alexandria regarding three homicides."

Smith then explained how after Severance was advised that police wanted to speak with him about the murders, he tried gaining asylum at the Russian Embassy in D.C., passport in hand, on March 7.

According to Smith, these photos were taken by the Secret Service, and two guns belonging to Severance still remain unaccounted for; Judge James Mazzone is siding with the prosecution, ruling Severance be held without bond.

Following the hearing, Severance’s attorney did not comment.

Meanwhile, Alexandria Police maintain Severance has not been charged in the three high-profile murders, and is not officially a suspect. Last week, Severance made his way to Wheeling, where he stayed at the Knight’s Inn and was soon arrested.

Forensic psychiatrist Lise Van Susteren, an expert in the psychology of crime, agrees that we do not yet know whether Charles Severance is a killer -- even though he has had past troubles, including losing custody of his son and allegedly leaving a rifle on a pillow to threaten the boy's mother.

"That in and of itself isn't enough to say that this guy is very dangerous. However, if I had seen his website, which I now have done, I would know that this guy is probably very dangerous," she says.

On his website, Severance criticizes the mental health system.

"He claims that he's not the one who has a mental illness, it's everyone else," explains Dr. Van Susteren. "We try to understand it from our own logical minds, and that's really the problem because it can't be understood, because these people are very sick."

The manager of the hotel he stayed at also said Severance seemed like a normal as well. But Van Susteren says that doesn't mean he can't be a serial killer:

"Superficially, they won't be upset...There isn't any sense of remorse. In their minds what they did was justified."

Alexandria residents are just hoping now that the killings are over.

"Nobody opens their doors the way that they used to, so it would be nice to get this guy out of the way and know for sure if it's him," says Wayne Ebenfeld.

The next bond hearing will happen here on Wednesday, followed by the next extradition hearing, scheduled for two weeks from today. If extradition moves forward at that point, prosecutor Scott Smith tells ABC7 that it could still take 45 to 60 days for Severance to be sent back to Virginia.

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