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Family, friends, say Severance isn't man in Target video | News

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Family, friends, say Severance isn't man in Target video

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- Family members and friends of Charles Severance say he isn't the man in the surveillance video from an Alexandria Target that's crucial do the prosecution's murder case.

Both Severance's brother and sister and several of his friends from when he lived in Haggerstown, Md. said he's not the person apparently following murder victim Nancy Dunning is not Charles Severance. Severance's parents also said the man in that video wasn't Severance, saying the man's face, hair, profile, weight and height are wrong.

Severance is accused of killing Dunning, Ruthanne Lodato and Ron Kirby over the course of a 10 year period in Alexandria. 

George McKinley, a friend of Severance from when he lived in Cumberland, Md, flat out denied it.

"It's not Charlie Severance. It's absolutely not Charlie Severance. That man is way more stocky than Charlie was. His facial features are completely different. I mean it's so obvious," McKinley said.   

McKinley was one of four friends from when Severance lived in Cumberland, which was in 2001 and 2002, to testify Thursday.

"The Charlie Severance that I knew was really a kind person, a giving person. And he opened his house, which he called a bed and breakfast, a hostel, for free or on a minimum payment for people who wanted to come in. That's not a guy, you know, who'd be trying to hurt someone," McKinley said.

Another old friend from Cumberland, Susan Cole was asked by the prosecution about Severance's anger over losing custody of his child, and why she told a detective that if it was about his son, you could not rule out murder. 

Cole denied saying that and explained that she meant "If a person felt his life or family's in danger, anybody can be pushed to do anything."

Ben Severance, however, was not as kind about his brother. He talked about Charles Severance's erratic behavior and said they had a falling in 2001 out after his brother would not get help for his mental health problems. Thursday was the first time he had seen his brother in the flesh in 14 years.

But he too said the man in the video is not his brother.   

The defense tried to use the friends and family to show him as eccentric and his lover of history and dark games as reasons behind the violent writings. 

Severance's ex-wife Jayantee Paineganguly also testified for the first time Thursday. They met at George Mason University and married in 1991, but she said she asked for a divorce in less than a year because of his behavior.

She specifically recalled an where Severance made her get out of the car for no apparent reason. Later, she said Severance said he didn't know why he did that. 

Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled for Wednesday and the jury is expected to get the case next week. 

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