Suspected East Coast rapist pleads not guilty

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 22, 2011 1:43 PM
Suspected East Coast rapist pleads not guilty

BOSTON (Reuters) - A man suspected of being the East Coast rapist pleaded not guilty in Connecticut on Tuesday to charges stemming from an attack on one of twelve victims from Virginia to New England linked to him by DNA evidence.

In a brief court appearance in his hometown of New Haven, Connecticut, Aaron Thomas, 39, denied the charges of sexual assault, burglary and risk of injury to a minor, said public defender Joseph Lopez.

He is accused of the 2007 rape of a woman in New Haven, Connecticut in which he threatened to kill his victim's baby, sleeping in the room, if she made noise, according to a police affidavit.

Bond remains set at $1.5 million cash and the next court date in the case is set for the end of April.

Twelve victims of the East Coast rapist were linked through DNA evidence, authorities have said. Altogether, there were 17 attacks in Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut and Rhode Island, but authorities have said there could be more victims.

Thomas was arrested on March 4 near his New Haven home and is suspected in the rampage along the Eastern seaboard that began in 1997.

(Reporting by Lauren Keiper; editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)