FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:March 15, 2013
Contact: Heather F. WilliamsonCommonwealth’s Attorney’s Office20 East Market StreetLeesburg, VA 20176-2809(703) 777-0242
“EAST COAST SERIAL RAPIST“WILL SPEND REMAINING YEARS IN PRISON
JUDGE IMPOSES TWO LIFE TERMS
LEESBURG, Virginia – March 15, 2013. Nearly twelve years after raping a woman in Leesburg, Aaron Hijjmalike Thomas, 41, appeared before the Hon. Thomas D. Horne for sentencing today. Horne sentenced Thomas to two life terms in the Virginia Department of Corrections. Thomas entered pleas of guilty to felony charges of rape and abduction with intent to defile in the Loudoun County Circuit Court on November 29, 2012.
During the evening hours of May 24, 2001, Thomas entered the apartment of a Leesburg woman and forced her into a back bedroom where he bound, gagged, brutally raped and sodomized her. Thomas concealed his identity during the attack by wearing a cap, covering the victim’s face with clothing and ordering her to keep her eyes closed at all times.
In early 2011, a DNA profile was collected from Thomas via a discarded cigarette butt. The profile connected numerous cases on the East Coast to Thomas, who up until that point, had only been referred to as the “East Coast Serial Rapist.” While in custody in Connecticut a Town of Leesburg Police Detective interviewed Thomas, who admitted his involvement in the 2001 Leesburg attack. There is a possibility that Thomas will also be charged in other area jurisdictions.
The victim testified during today’s sentencing hearing describing the physical and emotional impact of the crime, telling the Judge that the memories of the incident are “never gone, they are always there, but they are something that you tuck away and try not to think about.” She further explained that Thomas “hurt my body, but not my head” and “I became stronger than him.”
Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman argued that physical injuries can be seen and assessed. He explained that those types of injuries can be treated and healed. However, in this case there are “lasting emotional and psychological injuries as well, and it’s those types of injuries that cannot be easily assessed and are hard to treat.” Plowman asked the Court to fashion a sentence that would allow the victim to put this chapter of life behind her. He suggested that this case was “exceptional” and that the Court should consider “protection of the community as being the single most important factor in this case based on the facts and the defendant’s prior history.”
Before handing down a sentence Horne spoke directly to Thomas, telling him that the “ultimate punishment the court can impose is appropriate for this case.” Horne went on to say that what Thomas did to the victim “was the same as if he had taken a knife and driven it right through her heart, but instead he drove it through her soul.”
Thomas was sentenced to three life terms, plus 80 years on March 1, 2013 for the attacks of three trick-or-treaters in Prince William County back in 2009. The two life sentences imposed in Loudoun County Circuit Court will run consecutively to each other and to any other sentences imposed in other jurisdictions.