Trial date in Virginia killings set for former political candidate

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 23, 2014 5:05 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Virginia judge on Thursday set a 2015 trial date for an eccentric former political candidate charged in three killings in the Washington area.

Charles Severance was indicted last month in Alexandria, Virginia, on 10 counts including murder and firearms charges. The three seemingly random killings in Alexandria, a Washington suburb, had fed fears about a possible serial killer.

Judge Jane Roush scheduled a trial date of Oct. 5, 2015, in Alexandria Circuit Court.

Severance lived in Alexandria in the 1990s and the early 2000s and ran for mayor and Congress as a fringe candidate. He sometimes wore a tricorn hat, was known for ranting in public and once threw a punch at the organizer of a mayoral debate.

He was indicted in the February slaying of music teacher Ruthanne Lodato, the November 2013 shooting of regional transportation planner Ronald Kirby and the 2003 killing of real estate agent Nancy Dunning.

The Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney Office has said it does not intend to seek the death penalty. The maximum penalty is life in prison.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Peter Cooney)