'East Coast Rapist' Pleads Guilty to Second Va. Attack

Monday, Dec 3, 2012  |  Updated 11:19 AM EDT
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Aaron Thomas

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One day after pleading guilty to rape and abduction charges in Loudoun County, the New Haven man known as the East Coast Rapist pleaded guilty to rape and abduction charges in Virginia.

Aaron Thomas pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and three counts of abduction for a Halloween 2009 attack on three teenage trick-or-treaters in Prince William County, Virginia. Thomas forced the trick-or-treaters - two of whom are now in college - into the woods and raped two of them over the course of about an hour. He had a cigarette lighter that was a replica of a gun, Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert told News4's Derrick Ward. One of the victims was able to text her mother, who called police. Thomas fled when he heard sirens, Ebert said.

Weapons charges against Thomas were dropped.

Thursday, Thomas pleaded guilty to rape and abduction charges for a rape in 2001 at a Leesburg apartment complex.

Thomas faces multiple life sentences in both the Loudoun County and Prince William County attacks.

Thomas's behavior and mental status has been an issue in court, if not an issue raised formally in the trial.

Ebert called Thomas's behavior "erratic from the start." In custody, Thomas has repeatedly cut his wrists and smeared his blood on the walls of his cell, News4's Julie Carey reported earlier this month.

He has claimed he had an alternate personality -- Erwin.

However, the prosecution's mental health expert had found Thomas was either "feigning or greatly exaggerating" symptoms. His attorneys had notified the court that sanity would not be raised as an issue.

Thomas has been tied to 17 attacks over longer than a decade from the D.C. area up to New Haven.

In a story published in The Washington Post, Thomas acknowledged that he was the East Coast Rapist, saying, "I don't think I'm crazy but something is wrong with me."

Sentencing in Prince William County is scheduled for Feb. 22.

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