NEW HAVEN, Conn.—A suspect in East Coast rapes was captured last week and is being held on $1.5 million bail. He is suspected of assaulting women from Virginia to Rhode Island over a span of nearly 12 years.
Aaron Thomas, 39, appeared before the New Haven Superior Court in Connecticut wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap as he was charged with the rape of a woman in her New Haven home in front of her child back in 2007.
Prosecutor David Strollo said in a press release that the defendant described himself as suffering from a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” personality when it comes to women.
Authorities say the DNA collected off of a cigarette butt confirms Thomas as the “East Coast Rapist,” wanted for rapes occurring in Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia.
Investigators say he is responsible for 12 attacks with 17 victims, 14 of whom were sexually assaulted, as well as two abductions and a peeping offense.
Thomas has not been charged in Rhode Island or Maryland.
During the hearing, Thomas described the gruesome details of his most recent attack in 2009, which involved the rape of two teenage trick-or-treaters in Woodbridge, Va.
Prosecutor Strollo said that the DNA from a cigarette butt discarded by Thomas outside a local court house was used to identify him as the man wanted for the attacks. He also said that Thomas has lived in New Haven for four years.
Thomas was arrested Friday on Connecticut charges, which included first degree sexual-assault and risk to the injury of a minor. Authorities have said he attempted to hang himself on Saturday and had a brief hospital stay before being returned to his cell.