Judge orders Charles Severance to stand trial on weapons charges

Charles Severance, right, in court in Virginia. Photo: WJLA

LEESBURG, Va. (WJLA/AP) - A man who is the key person of interest in three slayings in Alexandria will now stand trial on an unrelated gun charge in Loudoun County.

A judge on Tuesday set Oct. 27 as the trial date for 53-year-old Charles Severance, who was indicted by a grand jury Monday on one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The trial is expected to take two days and Severance, if convicted, would face a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison.

Police in Alexandria have said they are focused on Severance as they investigate three unsolved slayings: one in 2003, one last year and one this year. He has not been formally named as a suspect, but police said ballistics evidence indicates the murders may be linked.

Severance's lawyer has said the gun charge is a sham to hold him while police continue to investigate the Alexandria slayings. The lawyer insists the firearms in question in the Loudoun case actually belonged to Severance's live-in girlfriend, Linda Robra, who testified at a preliminary hearing last month.

Severance's attorney also filed motions Tuesday seeking to suppress evidence and statements at trial. The judge scheduled a motions hearing in the case for Sept. 4.

Severance is a former Alexandria resident who now lives in Ashburn. He's been in custody since March.