East Coast Rapist, Suspect in Hybla Valley Rapes, Pleads Guilty to PW County Attacks
Aaron Thomas, 42, suspect in three Hybla Valley attacks, pleads guilty Friday to Prince William County attacks.
A man accused of raping and terrorizing women all over the East Coast, including three attacks in Hybla Valley in 1999, 2000 and 2001, pleaded guilty on Friday to attacking three teenage girls in Dale City on Halloween night 2009.
Aaron H. Thomas, 42, of Connecticut, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and three counts of abduction for the 2009 attacks in Prince William County Circuit Court. Authorities suspect he is connected to as many as 17 rapes. He has been linked to 13 through DNA evidence.
Thomas has been linked by DNA evidence to rapes across the East Coast, thus the name "East Coast Rapist" police bestowed upon the suspect. The cases range from three attacks in Hybla Valley to Dale City, Prince George's County in Maryland, Leesburg and New Haven, Conn.
A Prince William County detective testified Friday that three teenage girls were attacked as they were walking home from trick-or-treating in the Dale City area on that rainy Halloween night. They were cutting across a shopping center parking lot when Thomas pulled out a lighter that looked like a gun and asked if they had money.
When the girls said they did not, Thomas ordered them to a wooded area behind the store, and told them to drop their bags full of candy. He then took them to a clearing down a hill, where he told them to lie face down on the ground. He sexually assaulted the two 17-year-old victims, but the 16-year-old was able to text her mother from the scene.
On Thursday, Thomas also pled guilty to charges in Loudoun County.
He was originally scheduled to enter his plea in Prince William earlier this month, but backed out, saying that he was confused. Friday's proceedings went as planned, although for reasons that were unclear, Thomas watched most of the proceedings from a nearby room.
Thomas will be sentenced in Prince William County on Feb. 22.