Local News

Judge Denies Another Mental Evaluation For “East Coast Rapist” Suspect

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(Courtesy FBI)

(Courtesy FBI)

By JESSICA GRESKO,  Associated Press

MANASSAS, Va. (AP) _ A man accused of being the East Coast Rapist, allegedly responsible for 17 sexual assaults over a decade, will not be evaluated again for competency to stand trial, a Virginia judge ruled Friday.

Defense attorneys for Aaron Thomas had sought a second report after they said Thomas began trying to injure himself and stopped speaking to them. But a judge denied the request, agreeing with prosecutors there was no reason for a new evaluation.

An earlier report concluded Thomas was feigning mental illness. Thomas could be found competent to stand trial but insane at the time of his alleged crimes.

Prince William County Circuit Court Judge Mary Grace O’Brien warned Thomas he needs to cooperate with additional mental health evaluators. Otherwise he risks not being able to present an insanity defense at trial.

Thomas attempted to speak out multiple times during the brief hearing Friday. He seemed to want to tell the judge why he has refused to talk. He also appeared to indicate he would meet with mental health evaluators, saying “OK” after the judge explained why.

But Thomas also fidgeted noticeably in court, trying to turn around to look at spectators and standing up at one point in an apparent effort to scratch himself.

“I’m sorry for itching because I have a hole and it’s bleeding,” he said before the judge cut him off.

As he was led out of the courtroom he said, “They’re not going to let me talk.”

Thomas is accused in Prince William County of raping two teenage girls and attacking another on Halloween 2009.

Authorities believe he also attacked women in Maryland, Connecticut and Rhode Island. His trial is currently scheduled for July.
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Follow Jessica Gresko at http://twitter.com/jessicagresko

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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