PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. (WUSA) -- Aaron Thomas was transported to Virginia Tuesday and was arraigned in District Court in Manassas this morning at 8:30.
Thomas faces eight charges in two rapes that happened in Woodbridge on Halloween night. 2009. Three teenage girls were walking home from trick or treating when Thomas, the accused "East Coast Rapist", raped two of them in a wooded area. He is also chraged with use of a firearm during those rapes.
Judge Scott Bailey asked Thomas if he understood the eight charges against him and Thomas, who stared down at his feet the entire time, said, "No." The judge asked what was it that he didn't understand and Thomas finally indicated that he wanted a court-appointed attorney. The judge appointed attorney Ron Fahy to represent Thomas.
Thomas is accused in 17 rapes of women from Virginia to Rhode Island over the past 12 years. He was arrested in New Haven in March after authorities began tracking him. They were able to obtain a cigarette butt from Thomas and made a DNA match, according to authorities.
Prince William County County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert calls the rapes on the two teenage girls particularly heinous. Thomas is accused of using a gun to force the rapes on the girls.
All of the attacks attributed to the East Coast Rapist occured at night. Authorities say he stalked and studied his victims in neighborhood he knew well. Thomas has family in Clarke County, Virginia and grew up in Berryville, Virginia. He went to high school in Prince George's County, Maryland.