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East Coast rapist sentenced in Virginia to two more life terms

(Reuters) - The man police dubbed "the East Coast rapist" was sentenced to two life terms without parole on Friday for the 2001 rape of a woman in the Washington suburb of Leesburg, Virginia.

Aaron Thomas, 41, is already serving a sentence of three life terms, plus 80 years, for a 2009 attack of three trick-or-treaters in neighboring Prince William County. He was sentenced on March 1.

He was sentenced on Friday for the 2001 attack on a 41-year-old woman in her Leesburg apartment. Authorities said Thomas entered her apartment and forced her into a back bedroom, where he bound and gagged her and then raped her.

Before Thomas was sentenced, the woman testified at the hearing in Loudoun County.

Memories of the rape are "never gone, they are always there, but they are something that you tuck away and try not to think about," she said, according to a press release from the county commonwealth's attorney's office.

Judge Thomas Horne said the case called for the "ultimate punishment the court can impose," according to the attorney's office.

He sentenced Thomas to two life terms for rape and abduction with intent to defile.

Thomas pleaded guilty to both the Prince William County and Loudoun County assaults, and DNA evidence links him to at least 15 more attacks across four states, according to police.

Thomas was arrested in New Haven, Connecticut in March 2011 after police linked his DNA to a discarded cigarette butt.

(Reporting by Lacey Johnson; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Leslie Gevirtz)

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