East Coast rape suspect to use insanity defense

Thomas is linked to 17 attacks in Virginia, Maryland, and Connecticut over two decades. (WTOP)

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

MANASSAS, Va. – Lawyers for the man charged with raping women throughout the East Coast region intend to claim insanity in his Prince William County trial.

Attorneys for Aaron Thomas “will put in issue his sanity at the the time of the crimes,” according to a circuit court filing.

Thomas will go on trial for raping two teenage girls and attacking an other on Oct. 31, 2009.

While in custody, Thomas “continues to mutilate his body, including his face and genitalia,” according to his attorneys.

His lawyers say Thomas is being housed in a cell with a blanket blocking the cracks in the door to prevent him from getting items to harm himself.

According to his attorneys, “a jail therapist speculates he’s picking the mortar from the wall to gain a sharp object” to cut himself.

A hearing has been scheduled for Friday, to determine whether Thomas is presently competent to stand trial.

In a counter-motion, Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert says an earlier evaluation determined Thomas was malingering.

The initial evaluation found Thomas was “either feigning or greatly exaggerating any mental symptoms he may be experiencing in order to prevent prosecution by being deemed incompetent,” according to Ebert.

Thomas’ lawyers say he’s refused to meet with them since March.

When his lawyer came to his cell, Thomas hid “under a blanket on the floor until she left,” according to the filing.

In an earlier filing, the defense wrote Thomas “has complained of an alternate personality named Erwin, active at the time of the alleged offenses and suggestive of possibly dissociative identity disorder.”

Defense attorney Ronald Fahy said Thomas was “experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations” while incarcerated.

Thomas allegedly held three girls at gunpoint, and raped two of them after they’d spent Halloween night trick-or-treating.

Thomas is linked to 17 attacks in Virginia, Maryland, and Connecticut over two decades.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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