East Coast rapist: Aaron Thomas backs out of plea deal

Thomas was set to plead guilty to rapes from 2009 in Prince William County on Tuesday. Photo: Prince William County Police

MANASSAS, Va. (AP/ABC7) - Aaron Thomas, the man who allegedly raped more than a dozen women across the East Coast for more than a decade, has backed out of a plea deal in Prince William County in connection to the rape of two girls in Northern Virginia.

At a plea hearing in Prince William County court Tuesday morning, Thomas appeared before a judge and said "he knows what's right and wrong" but didn't know what to do. The judge then said that the plea deal for Thomas, a New Haven, Conn. native, was off.

He remains charged with abducting three teenage trick-or-treaters on Halloween in 2009 and raping two of them. The case will likely return to court in January.

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.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Thomas said that he doesn't know why he couldn't stop raping women and that he viewed them as "objects."

Kurt Wallace remembers well when a wooded area in Dale City became the site of a horrific crime three years ago.

Wallace is the pastor at the Freedom Fellowship Church. It was right behind the church where authorities say Thomas abducted three teenage girls on Halloween 2009 and raped two of them.

Wallace knows that for the victims, the pain will never stop.

"It's not something you can push under the carpet and expect it to go away,” Wallace says. “Still a lot of hurt people"