Hearing postponed for alleged East Coast Rapist

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Local,Capital Land,Virginia,Crime,Emily Babay

A preliminary hearing for the suspect in a series of violent sexual assaults along the East Coast has been delayed.

Aaron H. Thomas, the alleged East Coast Rapist, will not appear in court until March 1, according to the Prince William County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court clerk's office.

A hearing had been scheduled for Wednesday.

Thomas was apprehended in his hometown of New Haven, Conn., in March after a tip to authorities from someone in Prince George's County. He is suspected in up to 17 attacks in Virginia, Maryland, Rhode Island and Connecticut between 1997 and 2009.

He is facing trial in Prince William County for a Halloween 2009 attack on three teenage girls in Dale City.

Thomas' defense attorney says his client has engaged in self-destructive behavior and will not communicate with him, according to the Associated Press. His attorney is seeking a mental-health evaluation before further court proceedings.

In the Prince William case, authorities say Thomas accosted three teenage trick-or-treaters at gunpoint, raping two 17-year-old girls. A third victim, a 16-year-old girl, was able to send a text message for help to her mother from her cell phone. The attacker fled as police approached.

Thomas is charged with two counts of rape, three counts of use of a firearm, three counts of abduction with intent to defile. He could face up to five life sentences if convicted.

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