East Coast Rapist to be arraigned in Maryland


Aaron Thomas (R) is serving five life terms in Virginia for some of his attacks on women. Maryland wants to try him there where his two-decade crime spree began. (Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

Maryland wants the East Coast Rapist returned from Virginia.

Aaron Thomas may be serving five life terms in the Commonwealth for some of his final attacks on women. But officials in Prince George’s County say they want Thomas to stand trial north of the Potomac where his nearly two-decade crime spree began.

On Friday, they will take the first step in getting their wish.

Thomas will appear in a courtroom in Prince George’s via closed circuit television to be arraigned on six counts of first-degree rape and related charges, Prince George’s State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks announced Thursday.

Thomas’s alleged crimes date from 1997 to 2003, and authorities say DNA evidence ties him to all six alleged crimes.

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

He said there were several more in the county before he moving up and down the East Coast.

As of earlier this year, five of the 13 rapes tied to Thomas by DNA evidence occurred in Prince George’s, authorities said. The others were in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Virginia.

Thomas has admitted — to police, in court and in interviews with The Post — that he was the so-called East Coast Rapist.

In interviews, Thomas, the son of a D.C. police officer, has explained the attacks as emerging from his time as a desperate homeless man in Prince George’s County, when he gave in to animalistic urges.

In March, Thomas was sentenced to two life terms in prison for a May 2001 attack in Loudoun County. He had pleaded guilty to abducting and raping a woman who was in the process of moving out of her Leesburg apartment, binding her with rope and threatening her with a screwdriver before stealing her clothes and leaving her naked.

Thomas also is serving more than three life sentences for a Halloween 2009 attack on three teenage trick-or-treaters in Prince William County.

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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