East Coast Rapist arraigned in Prince George’s County

A televised image of Aaron Thomas, the admitted East Coast Rapist, appeared briefly Friday in a Prince George’s County courtroom.

Thomas was arraigned on six counts of first-degree rape and related charges. A public defender said she would represent him.

Thomas, sitting in an orange jumpsuit, said nothing, and his image soon disappeared.

So began the process for Prince George’s prosecutors to hold Thomas accountable for a string of rapes they say he committed in Maryland beginning in the 1990s. The attacks, they say, were among the first in a series of sexual assaults that continued until 2009.

Thomas has been sentenced to five life terms for rape convictions in Virginia, which does not have parole. But John Erzen, a spokesman for Prince George’s State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, met with reporters outside the courtroom after Friday’s hearing and said the county would seek to mete out justice for Thomas in Maryland, as well.

“This is a chance to give a voice to the victims in Maryland, too,” Erzen said. “We want to do this for justice and for closure for our victims, and to help them move on.”

Thomas has admitted — to police, in court and in interviews with The Washington Post — that he was the so-called East Coast Rapist. DNA has linked him to crimes in Virginia, Maryland, Rhode Island and Connecticut, authorities have said.

In the most recent attack, Thomas targeted three teenage trick-or-treaters in Prince William County on Halloween 2009. He was sentenced to three life terms plus 80 years in prison.

Thomas told The Post last year in a series of jailhouse interviews that his first rape victim was a prostitute whom he attacked near his childhood home in Fort Washington in the early 1990s.

Thomas was transferred to the Prince George’s jail from Virginia on July 2 and will remain in Maryland until the cases there conclude, said Yolanda Evans, a county corrections spokeswoman.

Josh White contributed to this report.

Aaron Davis covers D.C. government and politics for The Post and wants to hear your story about how D.C. works — or how it doesn’t.
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