An appeal to overturn the convictions of Charles Severance, in jail for the murder of three Alexandria residents, is currently under consideration. Three items were granted a bid by the Virginia Court of Appeals and are currently being considered by a panel of three appeals court judges: whether there was evidence to convict Severance, whether the murder of Nancy Dunning should have been separated from the murders of Ron Kirby and Ruthanne Lodato, and whether or not Severance should have received one or two life sentences instead of three.
On March 9, oral arguments were made in the Alexandria Courthouse. According to Commonwealth Attorney Bryan Porter, the process usually takes six weeks, meaning an opinion could be released in late April or early May. Whichever side loses the opinion has the right to appeal the case to a higher court.
Guilty Plea in Revenge Killing
On March 16, DiJuan Clark pled guilty to the second degree murder of Saquan Hall, bringing to a close the bloody feud that left two dead in North Old Town. Early in the morning on July 2, Clark shot Hall at the corner of First Street and North Patrick Street, one block away from where he believed Hall had murdered DiJuan Clark’s brother Pierre Clark earlier that year. The feud had started over a year before Pierre Clark’s homicide, when Pierre Clark had allegedly shot and injured Saquan Hall. Hall’s mother, Patrice Hall, said her son had refused to name who shot him but it was clear over time that he blamed Pierre Clark.
The investigation showed that DiJuan Clark fired multiple shots at Saquan Hall as Hall was fleeing the scene, then shot the victim once in the head when he was on the ground.
"The motive for this murder was apparently the oldest motive known to man – revenge,” said Commonwealth Attorney Bryan Porter in a press release. “However, we are a nation of laws, and the main objective of our system of government is to bring safety and order to a community by requiring that persons aggrieved by private injury to submit their disputes to a neutral tribunal for arbitration. Citizens cannot be allowed to resort to self-help and violence to redress perceived injuries. To do so subverts the order of society and the safety of the citizenry. Persons who resort to violence to settle scores will be held accountable for their actions."
DiJuan Clark is being held in the Arlington County Adult Detention Center awaiting his sentencing on June 15.
The trial of Paula Thompson-Marshall, accused of murdering her husband Rolf Marshall in their Old Town residence, is scheduled to begin on April 17. Paula Thompson-Marshall is charged with the Oct. 5 murder and use of a firearm in the commission of murder. The maximum penalty in the case is life plus three years.