Plea expected in case linked to East Coast rapes

MANASSAS, Va. (AP) — A Connecticut man who authorities blame for a series of rapes and assaults of women along the East Coast is expected to plead guilty in Virginia for the first time to one of those attacks.

A plea hearing in Prince William County court is scheduled for Tuesday morning for Aaron Thomas of New Haven, Conn. He is charged with abducting three teenage trick-or-treaters in 2009 and raping two of them.

Those assaults were the last of 17 that authorities attributed to the East Coast Rapist, who was linked through DNA and other evidence to 17 assaults and rapes on women as far back as 1997.

Thomas was arrested in March 2011. His lawyers had been pursuing an insanity defense before dropping those plans and scheduling Tuesday's plea hearing.

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