- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - The man accused of killing three Alexandria residents over a 10-year span has pleaded not guilty, just days before jury selection in his murder trial is scheduled to begin.

At an arraignment Thursday morning, Charles Severance of Ashburn clearly stated “not guilty” to each charge in a 10-count indictment. He resisted answering other basic questions, such as confirming his name.

He is accused of killing Nancy Dunning, wife of then-Sheriff James Dunning, in 2003; transportation planner Ron Kirby in 2013; and music teacher Ruthanne Lodato last year.

Prosecutors say Severance, a former Alexandria resident with a history of erratic behavior, was seeking revenge against what he perceived as the city’s ruling class for losing a child custody case.

Defense lawyers say the government’s case is weak and its theory is illogical.

Jury selection in the trial is scheduled to begin Monday. Severance’s formal arraignment was held Thursday so it could be done outside the presence of the jury, at the defense request.

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