Aaron Thomas is believed to be the man that became known as the “East Coast Rapist,” after terrorizing 17 women in Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The spree of rapes allegedly started in 1997, HuffPost writes, but new details on the attacks came to light during his ongoing trial.
Thomas confessed to starting his series of assaults in the early 1990s, when the now 40-year-old was living by himself, having been kicked out by a strict father. He was camping out in a burned-down pet store.
"I was sitting in the building just doing nothing. [...] It was like, bam, who cares?," he says, describing his urges.
His first victim, who is not on court records, was, by his own admission, a call girl.
"I felt like an animal. I didn't care," Thomas says, describing his emotional state after the fact.
During all this time, Thomas managed to maintain 2 serious relationships, one of which with mother of one, Jewell Hicks. Hicks' son, Jorell Cruz, remembers how he took long walks at night, to cool off after having been rejected by Cruz's mother.
"He got upset, but every time he gets upset, he'd leave out and come back home the same night or the next morning, and they'd make up. [...] I thought he was giving my mom some space, but who knows what he was doing out there,” Cruz says.
The suspect was finally apprehended in March 2011, in the state of Connecticut, following an extensive multi-state hunt. He had made a mistake, leaving his DNA on a discarded cigarette butt, and police received a tip about him, allowing them to cross-match the sample.
Thomas, the son of a Washington police officer with a disciplinarian streak, that took his own life while he and his brother were young, is now facing the possibility of multiple life sentences.