Federal agents are investigating whether a man in custody in West Virginia has a connection to three high-profile murders that have made residents of Alexandria, Va., afraid to open their own doors.
That man was a mayoral candidate in the city.
Charles Severance first ran for mayor in a special election in 1996, when Mayor Patsy Ticer was elected to the Virginia state Senate. Then-Vice Mayor Kerry Donley was the Democrat in the race, and he says Severance made an impression on him at the time.
"Well he was an odd fellow," Donley says. "I mean he would come to campaign events dressed all in black, gloves."
Donley also remembers that Severance would answer every question with a diatribe about psychotropic drugs. The former mayor says Severance was creepy, but he didn't think he was dangerous at the time.
"After the election in 1996, Vola Lawson, the city manager at the time, told me that she and the police chief had assigned an undercover officer to shadow me at these campaign events because they were concerned about me."
Severance is currently being held in custody in West Virginia on a weapons charge.