In this courtroom drawing, Aaron Thomas, stands before a judge with officers and public defender Joseph Lopez, in New Haven, Conn., on March 7, 2011.
In this courtroom drawing, Aaron Thomas, stands before a judge with officers and public defender Joseph Lopez, in New Haven, Conn., on March 7, 2011. Elizabeth Williams/AP
Aaron Thomas, the man suspected as the 'East Coast Rapist', is scheduled to enter a plea in two Virginia courts this month, according to reports. The Associated Press says on Nov. 30, Thomas will appear in a courtroom in Loudoun County, apparently to enter a plea in a sexual assault case.
But before that, Thomas will appear in a Prince William County, Virginia court next week. Prince William Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert tells the Two-Way that Thomas is "expected to plead to 2 counts of rape and 3 counts of abduction with intent to defile."
Thomas is suspected in the rapes of at least 12 women or girls in the Northeast and possibly as many as 17. He allegedly preyed on women caring for children and on teenagers. In the Prince William county case, the site of his last alleged attacks, Thomas is charged with kidnapping three girls who were out trick-or-treating and raping two of them on Halloween, 2009.
The East Coast Rapist menaced women for at least 13 years. Authorities in several states joined forces to stop him, even putting up billboards to alert the public; but he eluded capture for more than a decade. As the Washington Post put it: "police know so much about this man. They even have his DNA. But when it comes right down to it, he is a frustrating mystery. No one has been able to find him."
The rapist attacked women waiting for buses and moving furniture in their homes. He allegedly identified women to assault who were protecting children. He's used knives, guns and even a screwdriver to rape women in parking lots, wooded areas and in their homes. And he got away every time.
But authorities believe they found their leading suspect in Connecticut last March, after a police media outreach garnered a tip from somebody who knew Aaron Thomas, the Post says. Now Thomas may admit guilt to some of the crimes.
The Hartford Courant reported earlier this year that Thomas asked police why it took them so long to locate him. It's unclear if he'll be moved to Connecticut or elsewhere to face more charges after the upcoming hearings.