'East Coast Rapist' suspect to plead guilty in Northern Virginia

Local,Virginia,Crime,Ben Giles

The man known as the "East Coast Rapist" is expected to enter guilty pleas in Prince William and Loudoun counties later this month, according to prosecutors.

Aaron Thomas, the New Haven, Conn., man linked to more than a dozen rapes spanning from Virginia to Rhode Island between 1997 to 2009, is scheduled to plead guilty in two separate cases, the Washington Post reported.

A plea hearing is scheduled in Prince William County on Tuesday, Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert said.

A Prince William grand jury indicted him in April on eight charges: two counts of rape, three counts of abduction with intent to defile and three counts of using a firearm during a felony. Authorities say he raped two 17-year-old girls at gunpoint; a third victim, a 16-year-old girl, sent a text message for help from her cellphone.

Another plea is scheduled for Nov. 30 in Loudoun County, where prosecutors say Thomas raped a Leesburg woman in May 2001.

Pleas would spare victims and their families from going to trial, scheduled for January, and will allow Thomas to be sentenced by a judge rather than a jury.

If the sentencing in Virginia is substantial enough, prosecutors in Connecticut may decline pursuing charges against Thomas, Ebert said.

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